In a stunning development Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, canceled his appearance at today’s IACC conference. What the aftermath of this remains to be seen. However, it’s an embarrassment for the trade group which lost its keynote speaker and a setback in its working with Alibaba to implement a more comprehensive counterfeiting agenda. According to the IACC website, Michael Evans, President of Alibaba, will be the keynote speaker.
Alibaba has been mentioned many times by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in its annual Out of Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. See Page 7 of the USTR’s “2015 Out of Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” which provides a good history of Alibaba’s piracy and also it’s efforts to remedy the problem.
Available at: https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/USTR-2015-Out-of-Cycle-Review-Notorious-Markets-Final.pdf]
Gucci America, Michael Kors and Tiffany have recently cancelled their membership with the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC). According to a news report by ABC News, IACC members were furious that the Chinese auction site Alibaba, which has a reputation as a major source for counterfeit products, was allowed to become an IACC member. Alibaba Group’s membership was suspended, amidst concern over current president Robert Barchiesi, who may have a conflict of interest with Alibaba Group.
The revoking of Alibaba Group’s membership comes just days before the IACC’s Spring Conference, scheduled for May 19th in Orlando, Florida. Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group and the Honorable Max Baucus, U.S. Ambassador to China, were the keynote speakers. The IACC was formed in 1979 to combat the growing counterfeiting threat.