Last week was a tense one for Alibaba and the regulators, but it appears the controversy between the Chinese e-commerce giant and China’s State Administration of Industry and Commerce has come to an end — at least for the time being, according to The Business Times.
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma said Monday (Feb. 2) that the problems were solved “in the first stage,” and that the SAIC’s action’s weren’t fully supported across the organization. The controversy hit its high point last week on Thursday when Alibaba fired back at the accusations made in a White Paper that Alibaba failed to stop the sale of fake goods, accepted bribery from merchants to gain higher rankings and sold counterfeit goods across its marketplaces. Alibaba adamantly denied the claims, saying they’ve always had a good relationship with the government agency and said they would work to resolve the matter. By Friday the issue began to simmer and it appears it has died down over the weekend.
“We will actively cooperate with the government and increase investment to strengthen our existing anti-counterfeit team,” Ma said, according to the SAIC statement reported on by Bloomberg. “We’ll enhance daily online and offline inspection and spot-check to solve the problem with the authorities together.”
To set the record straight, in Alibaba’s earnings call with analysts last week (Jan. 29), Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai shared the company’s perspective on the accusations.
“Our commitment to ethical and transparent behavior is why we are so deeply troubled by an SAIC report released on Jan. 23 that reported the published results of a product sample check in online commerce. As we said before, we believe this report was flawed, and was based on arbitrary methodology and we gave our views to the S.A.I.C.,” Tsai said. We believe the small approach taken in the report and the tactic of releasing the so-called White Paper specifically targeting us was so unfair that we felt compelled to take the extraordinary step of preparing a formal complaint to the S.A.I.C.”
It appears that formal complaints and a meeting with Alibaba’s top execs have smoothed over the matter. A Chinese consumer rights agency reported that the report criticizing the company didn’t have “judicial effect,” but Alibaba said they wanted to work together to ensure its integrity as a company is upheld.