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Are Fakes "Better Quality & Price" than Originals? Jack Ma from Alibaba Thinks so When one of the largest eCommerce giants admits counterfeits may be even better as originals, what happens next?

By Rustam Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Piracy – the Robin Hood of the middle class and economically challenged populations, envy for the rich and a virus to innovators, giant labels and mutli-billionaire CEOs. Supporters of piracy say they should have every right to have good things in life just as anyone else should, and their hard earned money shouldn't be funding sportscars and mansions of some marketing genius, despite it being punishable and illegal. Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Alibaba, one of the world's largest e-commerce and wholesale purchase website just raised some eyebrows over the unavoidable fact that fakes today are produced at not just the same quality as the original, but even sometimes as better quality and a drastically cheaper price than the originals.

Of course, behind those imitation labels piracy also has real risk on human lives with spurious products, mafia that runs these large counterfeit empires, the millions of dollars worth of pirated goods that completely escape taxes and losing money to those who actually put efforts in designing and inventing the product in the first place. Fake goods are no saviors to a unstoppable level of inflation that's reached us today. However, talking about them is a first step to dealing with them. "The problem is the fake products today are of better quality and better price than the real names," he said at Alibaba's investor day in Hangzhou. "They are exactly the same factories; exactly the same raw materials but they do not use the names."

It's not surprise that Alibaba is one of the largest counterfeit suppliers available online running their businesses openly. While the interface isn't encouraging and despite having multiple ways to report and stop counterfeits, Alibaba's business is simply expanding constantly. Here's everything you need to know

Why can't counterfeits be stopped?

China has excessively liberal polices and laws that make it very difficult to prove replicas and piracy. Even with their existence, they are rarely executed the way they would be in western countries. It's easy to bribe officials and bypass checks, making the process of imitation at an industrial level very easy.

What makes these duplicates good?

Chinese goods are often confused to be automatically of a cheaper quality. However, since almost everything is made in China, the same factories sometimes run overtime to first produce original goods and then in a later shift produce counterfeits for an unknown brand. Basically, it's the same equipment, same raw material, and same labor force in the same factor and using the same design – merely without paying the phenomenal prices to mainstream brands. The duplicates can be literal clones of the main brand themselves.

What makes them so popular?

Firstly, there's the obvious factor of a ridiculously cheaper price – sometimes prices can be as low as 1/5th of the original price. Then there's the possibility of an even further dip in prices for wholesale bulk purchases. To add a cherry on the cake, most suppliers also offer custom builds, custom orders and shipping that's as fast as 2-3 days internationally.

While literally all industries are affected, from clothing to food, industrial inventions to mechanical devices and even chemicals, electronics seem to be one of the most popular categories. Exact replicas of popular smartphone scan confuse even a smart user, and this is frightening news. However, Jack Ma expressed said they would continue fighting against counterfeits.

What's your experience or views on counterfeits? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Rustam Singh


Tech reporter.

Contact me if you have a truly unique technology related startup looking for a review and coverage, especially a crowd-funded project looking to launch and coverage.


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