The Cloud Sword Alliance, as it will now be named, is constituted of governments from Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hainan, Guangdong, Fujian, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangxi and Hunan, as well as the municipality of Shanghai.
Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui and Hunan are among the most populous in China and Guangdong province has the highest population with a count of more than a billion people.
The Cloud Sword Alliance will work closely with Alibaba’s Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance, which partners with several international brands, including Louis Vuitton, Samsung and Mars, using big data and technology to combat counterfeiting rings.
Jessie Zheng, the company’s chief platform governance officer, said: “This is the first public communiqué between governments and enterprises at such scale [in China].”
“We will continue our promise to increase our investment in brand protection and do our best to unite all parties. Alibaba is not alone in our brand-protection efforts.”
Earlier this year, Alibaba founder and chair Jack Ma called for Chinese legislators to impose heavier penalties on counterfeiters.
In February, Alibaba claimed in a public appeal that China’s “ambiguous counterfeiting laws” were stopping authorities from building strong legal cases against counterfeiters.
Ma said that counterfeiters should receive heavier penalties, which would help to create a healthy environment for innovation. Comparing China’s system to the US, he said that in China, counterfeit manufacturers and sellers do not have to bear any criminal responsibility for counterfeit goods worth less than RMB 50,000 ($7,248). In the US, the same offence would carry up to 10 years in prison.
Last month, Alibaba secured a defamation verdict against a pet food vendor who sold counterfeit cat food via the Taobao marketplace.
The defendant was forced to pay RMB 120,000 ($17,800) in damages to Alibaba.