The relationship between some international brands and their manufacturing partners in China, as well as those brands and their customers, is “shifting due to economic and technological developments,” Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma wrote in a new Wall Street Journal editorial.
As demand from Western brands continues to slow, manufacturers have been forced to find new sources of business, Ma said. And they’ve found one in China’s own vast domestic market. To tap that market, manufacturers are selling directly to Chinese consumers via the internet, in turn becoming brands themselves.
Ma elaborated on these changing dynamics after comments he made last week at Alibaba’s first ever Investor Day were taken out of context, he wrote. He had said Chinese manufacturers were now producing affordable, high-quality products that could compete with international brands in China’s retail market, but some media outlets had reported his statement as an endorsement of counterfeit goods. Ma rejected that notion on Thursday.
“What I said last week was that these trends may challenge the business model of some established brands,” he wrote. “That’s reality.”
Ma reaffirmed Alibaba’s commitment to fighting fakes on its e-commerce platforms, calling counterfeit goods “absolutely unacceptable” and saying that brands and their intellectual property “must be protected.”
“Alibaba is 100 percent committed to leading the fight against global counterfeiting, online and offline,” he said. “We have devoted an unparalleled level of technology, capital and people toward our anti-counterfeiting work.”
Read the full editorial here.