Alibaba has postponed the keynote appearance of founder and executive chairman Jack Ma at an anti-counterfeiting conference in the US.
The move follows a decision by the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), which organises the conference, to suspend its recently announced general membership category, which includes Alibaba and other companies.
The IACC said it had suspended the category in consideration of some of its members’ concerns and “to allow further discussion and consideration”. It added that the decision would not affect its existing relationship or joint initiatives, and it continued to stand by its inclusive approach to working with intermediaries.
Alibaba said that group president Michael Evans would attend the conference in Florida today instead of Jack Ma.
A statement said: “Given the IACC’s desire for additional time to reflect upon the viability of its general membership category, Alibaba feels it best that Jack Ma postpone his appearance. We have informed the IACC of our decision, and are pleased to announce that the President of Alibaba Group, Michael Evans, will represent Alibaba at the conference.”
In the statement Alibaba, which has been linked to the sale of counterfeit goods, said the group was firmly committed to protection of intellectual property rights and had a zero-tolerance policy towards counterfeiting. It added that the IACC’s suspension was a “step in the wrong direction and regrettable”.
“Now is the time for partnership and action,” the statement said. “Together, we must embrace the future. We encourage the IACC and the entire industry to adapt to current trends, adopt a more open and collaborative approach, and embrace new technologies in order to bring about positive change for the industry and all its members.”
It added that the IACC decision would not impact its “aggressive fight against counterfeits”.
Shortly before IACC’s decision to suspend the general membership category, the organisation and Alibaba announced the expansion of the IACC MarketSafe Program, a collaboration where brands identified and delisted counterfeit listings on Alibaba’s marketplaces.
Alibaba joined the IACC last month when the coalition created the new general membership category.