In the company’s investor conference, Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, claimed that fake goods often have higher quality and lower pricing than the originals.
Yup, he actually said that. Bloomberg Technology quotes Ma as saying:
“The problem is that the fake products today, they make better quality, better prices than the real products, the real names. It’s not the fake products that destroy them, it’s the new business models.”
To test the quality of knock-offs, perhaps Ma, China’s second-richest man, can try playing on a “Nintendo Polystation” or wearing a pair of “Adadis” sneakers. If he finds those unsatisfactory, he can try on a pair of “Numa” shoes or shop for more footwear options at Uncle Martian. He can make all these purchases on his Pear Phone.
Of course, with more than 40% of online sales in China being “counterfeit or bad quality,” there are assuredly some fake products out there that are built to last. But as Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center in Hangzhou, pointed out in the same Bloomberg Technology article: “For some individual cases what he’s saying might be true, but it’s wrong to generalize the phenomenon.”
In the past, Alibaba has made efforts to eliminate knock-offs from its websites. Last year, they assisted police in arresting 300 people, according to Bloomberg Technology. On the other hand, last year Ma also resolutely refused to settle a lawsuit filed against Alibaba by Kering SA, which represents upmarket brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, accusing China’s largest online commerce company of turning a blind eye to sellers hawking fake merchandise.
Ma said that he would rather “lose the case and lose the money, instead of losing our dignity and respect.” It also seems that he doesn’t want to lose all that superior-quality merchandise.
By Amy Yang