A Small Table Maker Takes On Alibaba’s Flood of Fakes

Why am I posting this to a guns and knives blog?

Simple: I sell expensive knives that I obtain through legitimate US based Wholesalers that have been vetted by manufacturers.  Every weekend I am asked to sell products at or below prices I pay for them from my wholesalers.  The person asking me to do so will say they can get it cheaper on line.

At the same time I belong to a number of Facebook Groups of knife collectors.  Alibaba and Ali Express are sources for numerous counterfeit “Knock-offs” of such knives as the Para-Military II.

Buying counterfeits harms American manufacturers and honest business people as well as giving you an inferior product that was made by poorly paid “slave labor”.

From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/business/alibaba-fake-merchandise-e-commerce.html

PHOENIX — From his desk in a downtown workshop, Greg Hankerson is at war with a Chinese company half a world away.

Mr. Hankerson and his wife, Sim, own Vintage Industrial, which designs and makes antique-style tables, cabinets and other furniture. The 25-employee start-up produces everything at its Phoenix factory, much of it by hand.

But that hasn’t protected Mr. Hankerson from counterfeiters, who peddle cheap copies of his creations on internet marketplaces run by Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company. He can find hundreds of suspected counterfeits of his furniture on Alibaba’s various sites, including Taobao, a free-for-all shopping platform on which the Chinese hawk items as varied as T-shirts and televisions.

One recent day, Mr. Hankerson fired up his web browser to scan for counterfeits. Several Taobao shops sell copies of various Vintage Industrial tables, including one with A-shaped legs and another with a glass top and propeller-like base, as well as cabinets and a metal locker.

“It just keeps going and going and going,” Mr. Hankerson, 45, said. “It’s like trying to pick weeds on a 70-acre farm.”

Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, has pledged to enhance the fortunes of small enterprises around the world by using e-commerce to expand their global trade. In January, Mr. Ma, who is one of China’s richest people, pledged to Donald J. Trump, then the president-elect, that Alibaba would create one million jobs in the United States by connecting small businesses like Mr. Hankerson’s to increasingly wealthy Chinese shoppers.

But Mr. Hankerson wants to know why Alibaba doesn’t do more to defeat counterfeiting, which damages the very same small businesses Mr. Ma says he intends to aid.

Mr. Ma “is making himself look like someone you can trust,” Mr. Hankerson said. But, he added, his company is selling counterfeit products.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/business/alibaba-fake-merchandise-e-commerce.html


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