Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba likely sold over $45 billion worth of counterfeit or “shoddy” goods on its various marketplaces last quarter, based on its gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $112 billion for that period, according to a new survey from China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

Xinhua reported Monday that more than 40 percent of goods sold online in China last year were either counterfeit or of bad quality (via Reuters). Flipping that, less than 59 percent of items were “genuine or of good quality,” it said.

Alibaba has been known to be plagued with fake and counterfeit goods, though it says it’s making efforts to combat these — founder Jack Ma recently went as far as to say that Alibaba itself is a victim of the fake goods trade.

Online sales in China grew 40 percent last year to about $442 billion, Xinhua said, meaning that across all ecommerce platforms in the country, as much as $177 billion in sales may have been categorized as counterfeit or shoddy — though it’s not a precise science because some of those sales may have been services.

In any case, it’s an appalling situation.

Whether you sympathize with Alibaba as a “victim” of the fake goods market is up to you, but as China’s largest ecommerce player by sales it’s certainly at the heart of the problem — and hence is currently knee-deep in lobbying the U.S. government to be kept off its fake goods blacklist.


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