May 19, 2022

Tencent Opposes US Fake Goods Label for WeChat

Chinese tech giant Tencent said Friday it strongly disagreed with a US decision to add its WeChat app to a government list of “notorious” markets known for trade in counterfeit goods.

WeChat and e-commerce site AliExpress were among those put on the list by the US Trade Representative (USTR) on Thursday spotlighting markets Washington says “engage in, facilitate, turn a blind eye to, or benefit from substantial piracy or counterfeiting”.

The 2021 Notorious Markets List flagged 42 online markets and 35 physical markets globally, including other web platforms such as China’s Baidu Wangpan.

“We strongly disagree with the decision made by the USTR,” Tencent said in response, adding that the company was committed to working to resolve the listing.

WeChat, a ubiquitous platform in China, had more than 1.2 billion active users around the world in 2021 and Tencent added that it takes a “comprehensive approach” to fighting counterfeiting and infringement on its platforms.

The Chinese commerce ministry said the US decision was based on “neither conclusive evidence nor sufficient proof, and is irresponsible and not objective.”

In a statement it said China did not “recognise the conclusions of the report” and that the country had made “continuous improvements” in its intellectual property protection system in recent years.

E-commerce titan Alibaba, which owns AliExpress, did not reply to AFP requests for comment.

The USTR said WeChat is “viewed as one of the largest platforms for counterfeit goods in China”, citing “weaknesses” in its seller vetting and mild punishments against offenders.

It added that there has been a “significant increase” in fake goods sold on AliExpress.

China “continues to be the number one source of counterfeit products in the world”, the USTR said.


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