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A small company tries to fight fakes on Taobao

op business and technology news for March 20, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Will Trump go to Beijing before Xi goes to Mar-a-Lago?"
1 week ago
Jeremy Goldkorn

  • A small table maker takes on Alibaba’s flood of fakes / NYT (paywall)
    Despite a vigorous public relations campaign, Taobao, the online marketplace owned by ecommerce giant Alibaba, is facing a growing chorus of criticism in the U.S. for its failure to stop the sale of fake products on its platform. Last year, the Office of the United States Trade Representative put Taobao back on its list of “notorious markets” for counterfeit goods, after removing it from the list in 2012. In the story linked above, the New York Times profiles Vintage Industrial, a 25-employee Arizona-based startup that designs and makes retro-style furniture, and is fighting a daily battle against copycat products on Taobao. One of its products is a table that sells for $5,295; the company found a replica product on a Taobao store priced at $240.
  • China’s trading partners alarmed by food import controls / ABC
    Officials of the United States, the EU, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and other governments have sent letters to China’s General Administration for Quality Inspection, Supervision and Quarantine (AQSIQ) expressing concern about plans to introduce new inspections for imported foods, “including such low-risk items as wine and chocolate.” The new rules could drastically affect companies that cater to China’s rapidly growing appetite for foreign foods and beverages. The German ambassador to Beijing commented that the increased scrutiny of imported food “seems it is more about protecting Chinese producers than about food safety.”
    Meanwhile, the story of Chinese consumers creating a boom for the lobster-fishing industry in the U.S. state of Maine continues to get media coverage: The Washington Post covered it almost a year ago, and as Quartz and Bloomberg have reported over the last few days, the craze for crustaceans does not seem to be waning.

By Jeremy Goldkorn
Jeremy Goldkorn is co-founder of the Sinica Podcast and currently edits SupChina and our daily newsletter.
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