Visitors passes by a Alibaba Group logo during the Vivatech startups and innovation fair in Paris.

LONDON — Jack Ma’s “996″ work culture, a day lasting from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, may have raised questions around work-life balance, but it has also kept the Alibaba Group growing quickly. Alibaba has also shown improvement in intellectual property rights protection in 2018, according to an internal report.

In the international press, the digital giant has been associated with fake goods and cheap products for a long time, and Alibaba is trying its best to flip that image and position itself as a leading IPR protector.

Alibaba Group said in its 2018 Intellectual Property Rights Protection Annual Report that some 96 percent of listings flagged by rights holders through Alibaba’s Intellectual Property Protection Platform during business days were processed within 24 hours and removed before a single sale took place. Takedown requests have been reduced by 32 percent, the company said.

Consumers played a big part in fighting counterfeit as well. Maoniang, a one-time Chinese live-streaming Internet celebrity, made a limited-time offer of sunglasses by Gentle Monster.

Her followers snapped up 3,000 pairs of sunglasses in minutes, resulting in 1.94 million renminbi in sales. Complaints and criticism poured in from the community that the sunglasses were counterfeit.

Alibaba soon closed her online store and reported the case, adding that the number of suspected counterfeit listings removed in response to consumer reports has dropped 70 percent from 2017.

The platform said it has been proactively monitoring its listings. Product intelligence, image and semantic recognition algorithms, real-time monitoring and interception, bio-identification and algorithms to detect abnormal merchant behavior have been developed and implemented by the company.

In 2018, Alibaba supported local police in China as part of its efforts to crack down on the sale of fake goods. “During the course of the year, Alibaba referred 1,634 IP-related leads to law enforcement, which led to the arrest of 1,953 criminal suspects and the closure of 1,542 facilities. These cases involved goods worth an estimated 7.9 billion renminbi, or $1.15 billion,” according to the report.

In January 2018, Alibaba’s off-line investigation team assisted Jiangsu police in dismantling a counterfeiting operation in Fujian province, where 18 suspects were arrested. The perpetrators had opened more than 50 online stores using the identities of friends and family.

The platform, which had nearly 700 million mobile active users as of December 2018, said their progress on IP protection has been reflected in the increased membership in the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance.

In 2018, the AACA grew from 30 founding members to 121 rights-holder members, with brands such as Burberry, Canada Goose, Chanel, Estée Lauder, Louis Vuitton, Pandora, Ralph Lauren, Swarovski and Valentino joining the effort.

As reported, Richemont also joined the AACA shortly after inking a JV deal with Alibaba last year. The deal will see a major rollout of Mr Porter and Net-a-porter in the region, aimed at domestic and traveling Chinese consumers.

“It will require ongoing collaboration and unity among all stakeholders to continue to combat the increasingly global and sophisticated nature of modern-day counterfeiters, but Alibaba is committed to working together and innovating to develop state-of-the-art technical solutions,” the report said.

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