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Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba promises to provide customer protection for S. Korean consumers  

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 6, 2023, 17:28 Updated : December 6, 2023, 17:28
Photograph by Yoo Dae-gil
[Photograph by Yoo Dae-gil = dbeorlf123@ajunews.com]
SEOUL -- Aliexpress, the business-to-customer-focused ecommerce platform wing of China's online shopping titan Alibaba Group, has made promises to inject 10 billion won ($7.6 million) over the next three years in a bid to establish a safe shopping system that will protect the rights of customers and sellers including intellectual property.

Alibaba Group operates three main shopping platforms -- Alibaba, Aliexpress, and Taobao. While Alibaba focuses on wholesale and business-to-business (B2B) transactions and connecting Chinese sellers with international customers, Aliexpress is for individual customers who seek quality products for the right prices. Aliexpress which has about 400 million monthly active users, offers free delivery fees for most of the products sold through the platform to attract smart buyers. Taobao is mainly for domestic individual customers.

Aliexpress is the top player in South Korea's "Jikgoo" Market. Jigkoo, which literally means "direct buying" in Korean, is a popular international shopping method among South Korean consumers who wish to pay less for the same or a similar product for a lower price. Jigkoo became a part of South Koreans' shopping pattern about ten years ago when people started purchasing electronics from the United States during the Black Friday sale season or end-of-the-year- sale season.

The Chinese one-stop ecommerce app is the third-most popular online shopping app in South Korea with about six million monthly active South Korean users as of October 2023, according to smartphone app market analyst firm Wiseapp. The number of monthly active users (MAUs) increased by 121 percent from August 2022. The Chinese shopping app attracted South Korean customers with a five or seven-day delivery guarantee for selected items with discounted prices.

Aliexpress held a press conference in Seoul on December 6 and revealed its three-year project called "Project Klean" to invest 10 billion won for the protection of rights of buyers and sellers. The project includes the establishment of a thorough authentication process for sellers and the adoption of an artificial intelligence-based product recognition algorithm to prevent intellectual property (IP) breaches and sales of counterfeit items.

The Chinese online ecommerce giant also promised to set up an IP protection platform to help brand owners, buyers, and sellers report products that are suspicious of violating IP-related laws. About 98 percent of reports will be processed within a day, Aliexpress said. The company will also operate a special channel dedicated to South Korean customers.

Through Project Klean, Aliexpress will guarantee a 100 percent refund for customers who bought counterfeit products while offering a free return service to a logistics center located in South Korea. Previously, some online international shopping malls demanded international parcel delivery fees for customers who wished to return unwanted or defective products.

"Aliexpress, which is receiving a lot of love from South Korean customers, feels that we should take a greater responsibility," Ray Jang, the CEO of Aliexpress Korea, told reporters during the press event. "To strengthen customer rights and IP rights, we have decided to invest 10 billion won for the next three years," Jang said.

"The management of IP rights violation cases is a very dynamic and complicated process that should be consistently taken care of. Aliexpress will not stop to optimize such a process. We will continue to cooperate with South Korean brands and industry officials in an effort to protect everyone's rights better," Jang said.

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