Two Chinese ecommerce services operated by Alibaba and Tencent were included in a Thursday update of the Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy, a list maintained by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
One of the sites is Alibaba’s AliExpress, the international arm of the ecommerce giant that’s available in more than 190 countries. The other is Tencent’s WeChat ecommerce ecosystem, a loose grouping of several mobile-based channels for vendors to sell on China’s most popular communication tool.
The idea of “notorious markets" was first introduced in 2006, and the list has been updated annually by USTR since 2011. Its 2021 iteration includes 42 online markets and 35 physical stores.
Chinese tech companies appear frequently on the list. Alibaba’s Taobao, the domestic-facing ecommerce website, was first added in 2008, removed in 2012, and re-added in 2016. Other prominent Chinese tech companies like Pinduoduo and Baidu have also stayed on the list for years.
"We strongly disagree with the decision made by the United States Trade Representative and are committed to working collaboratively to resolve this matter," a Tencent spokesperson told BBC. Alibaba told the Wall Street Journal that it “look[s] forward to continuing the work with governments to understand and address all concerns in IP protection across our platforms.”
Asked about the addition on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the ministry “urge[s] the U.S. side to stop politicizing economic and trade issues” and “view Chinese companies’ efforts and achievements in IPR protection in a comprehensive, objective and just manner.”