Alibaba founder Jack Ma, one of China’s most powerful businessmen, was publicly warned by government officials by fakes on the e-commerce platform. China’s head of industry cautioned Ma for not taking action against pirating on China’s biggest e-commerce platform.

Alibaba
Jack Ma, Alibaba – Photo by UNclimatechange, Flickr

Fight between SAIC and Alibaba is far from over

Last week in an interview with Hong-Kong based Phoenix TV, Zhang Mao chided some of the nation’s greatest local tech firms like Alibaba and Baidu and urged them to take up more social obligations.

“I’ve repeatedly told Jack Ma that he is not in the land of outlaws and he should take the primary responsibility,” said Mao, head of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce. Mao’s comments have again ignited a debate about fake products.

Zhang’s bookshelf is loaded with books about China’s top web companies, for example, Jack Ma in Cloth Shoes and Robin Li’s Challenges.

“Those people are the ones I need to deal with for my daily work and I study them one by one,” Zhang said.

Zhang’s comments suggest that the quarrel between the SAIC and Alibaba is far from over. During the interview, the trade controller explained how his office got to be vigilant in dealing with the companies and their founders.

Last year, SAIC and Alibaba scuffled over fakes on Alibaba’s marketplaces. SAIC said in a white paper that the e-commerce company neglected to take action against such products and charged it with corruption and other unlawful movements. Later, without stating a proper reason, the paper was pulled from the agency’s website.

Why was the white paper pulled down?

Zhang clarified why the document was taken down during the interview. He noted that due to the busy time-table of both Ma and he, they scheduled a meeting over a quick meal at the SAIC’s canteen. There, Ma frowned at the SAIC’s report, saying that the report lacked data to prove there was a predominance of fake merchandise.

Zhang detailed the origin of the white paper as well, saying that it came into existence after the SAIC sent a group to Alibaba to urge them to take more action against counterfeiting. The findings of this group became the substance of the white paper.

Later the U.S. response made the matter worse, as a drop in Alibaba’s stock stretched to other Chinese companies. People in the U.S appeared to have misconstrued the circumstance, believing that the Chinese government and Alibaba are deceiving speculators together. Zhang denes any such plot.

Alibaba and the agency reached an agreement a few days after the e-commerce giant blamed the SAIC for misconduct and threatened to file a formal grievance. Zhang said the paper was taken down in light of the fact that it wasn’t intended to trigger a controversy; instead, it was a record of a normal work meeting.