Online firms urged to step up quality checks

Updated: 2014-12-12 07:52


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The State Administration for Industry and Commerce found counterfeit products at some leading e-commerce websites during this year's Nov 11 Singles' Day event.

Now, Chinese consumers' attention is focused on another shopping event, the Double 12 promotion that falls on Friday.

The SAIC met with 10 leading e-commerce platforms ahead of 11/11. And it authorized third-party testing institutions to conduct sample checks of promoted products sold on Tmall, the major website of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd; Inc, Alibaba's top competitor by market share;, a Chinese e-commerce company that is majority-owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc; Amazon China; of the Suning Commerce Group Co;, a beauty product seller; and, a Chinese discount retailer.

The tests found that of 207 batches of sampled products, 15 batches from six e-commerce retailers were counterfeit or highly questionable products. Seven batches were disqualified or not up to the legal requirements for labels, according to the SAIC.

The problematic samples involved shoes, suitcases, accessories, gifts, cosmetics and digital products, with a problem rate of 10 percent.

The brands involved were New Balance, Adidas, Burberry, Zippo, Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Kingston, Coach, Montblanc and Sigg.

Eight batches were confirmed as counterfeit. Among them, those from Tmall accounted for three batches. There were two from and the rest were from, and

Seven batches were disqualified or substandard labeled products, involving, Lefeng and Tmall as well as The other seven batches of products were suspected of being counterfeit items, but a conclusion is still pending.

Alibaba said in a statement on Thursday that its business-to-customer platform Tmall has zero tolerance for fake goods. "We have set up various mechanisms to stop merchants from selling counterfeit or shoddy products. Once a merchant is found selling counterfeit goods, he or she will face penalties like closure of the online shop, loss of deposit and never setting up business on Tmall again," said the statement.

The company has taken the products involved in the investigation off the site and will close the shops once it is confirmed that rules were broken.

Alibaba has sought to crack down on unscrupulous sellers, which are a major challenge for the group, especially after its record-breaking initial public offering in the United States in September. In its IPO prospectus, it warned potential investors that it could come under fire for alleged counterfeit activity.

Its customer-to-customer cite Taobao was labeled as "notorious marketplace" with "widespread activity of counterfeit goods" by the Office of the US Trade Representative between 2008 and 2011. Taobao was removed from the list in 2012 for its "notable efforts" to crack down on counterfeit goods.

Wang Xiaoxing, an analyst at Analysys International, said that many e-commerce platforms are doing business with third-party retailers and it is challenging to control all the distribution channels, Wang said.