HONG KONG — Illustrating just how hard it can be to protect intellectual property in China, just 0.7 percent of counterfeiters Alibaba reported last year resulted in conviction. 

The numbers were shared by the online giant at a press conference on Monday, where Alibaba also issued a public appeal for stronger law enforcement measures and harsher penalties for counterfeiters.

The firm said it reported 4,495 leads in 2016, each involving a value of goods exceeding the statutory minimum of 50,000 renminbi, or about $7,200 at current exchange, for criminal investigation. Yet only 1,184 of the cases were taken on by the relevant authority. That in turn ultimately led to just 33 convictions, or 0.7 percent of the reported cases.

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“Furthermore, 37 out of the 47 convicted individuals [or 78.7 percent] involved in counterfeiting crimes were granted probation,” the company said.

“The current regulations are no longer able to cope with the need to fight counterfeiting,” said Jessie Zheng, chief platform governance officer of Alibaba Group. “Criminals can escape any legal consequence leaving law enforcement agents and consumers feeling helpless, and society bearing the damage.”

The firm has stepped up its anticounterfeiting efforts after it was re-listed as a notorious market by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in December. Last month, Alibaba formed a 20-member anticounterfeiting alliance with brands including Louis Vuitton and Swarovski, and also filed a suit against two Taobao merchants who had been allegedly dealing in fake watches.

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