Asia is, due to its growth rate and scale, a lucrative market for online marketplaces. And China’s online retail market is already the largest worldwide by far. However, according to predictions, Southeast Asia is only just beginning to benefit from the ecommerce boom. The reason for this is that more and more consumers in this country are now shopping online. This will only increase exponentially in coming years since technology is becoming the norm everywhere, even in rural communities. Naturally, many Western ecommerce giants have started operating in Southeast Asia, but local companies still dominate the market since they have a better understanding of their target audience. Since ecommerce platforms are developing at a rapid rate in Southeast Asia, more and more people are purchasing goods on these platforms. Online scammers and people trying to sell fakes are therefore becoming an increasing problem.
Below are the most popular ecommerce platforms in Southeast Asia, followed by advice on how to combat counterfeiting and infringements on these websites.
Lazada is the biggest ecommerce website in Southeast Asia, reaching customers in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It boasts over 50 million visitors monthly and has special features such as allowing consumers to customise their online ‘shop front’. Lazada offers a very wide range of products, ranging from electronics to household goods and fashion. The company was founded in 2011 by Alexander Samwer, Marc Samwer and Oliver Samwer of Rocket Internet, a German incubator that builds companies by copying successful business models of American tech companies in emerging markets. Lazada is owned by Alibaba Group and in 2016 it recorded $1.36 billion in annual sales across its 6 markets in Southeast Asia.
Given the massive scope of products being sold on Lazada, the sale of counterfeit goods is naturally a serious issue. Lazada has a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ towards counterfeit goods. To fight the issue of counterfeits, the company takes proactive and retroactive steps to counter the sales of fake goods on its platform. All the merchants on Lazada are registered with BIR and SEC (Bureau of Internal Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission). What’s more, merchants selling health and beauty products have to provide Lazada with their FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) permit. If Lazada’s counterfeit specialist team validates a report regarding a counterfeit product, it can result in the deactivation of the SKU (stock keeping unit) in question, temporary or even permanent shop deactivation.
Tokopedia, with its headquarters in Jakarta, was founded in 2009 by William Tanuwijaya and Leontinus Alpha Edison. In 2014, this company made history as being the first technology company in Southeast Asia to receive a $100 million investment from Sequoia Capital and SoftBank Internet and Media Inc. By 2015, Tokopedia had over 4.9 million active product listings, selling over 5 million products every month.
A CSC Global webinar reported the increased number of counterfeits on platforms like Tokopedia. In order to enforce takedown of infringing listings, the process is done via email.
Shopee was first launched in Singapore in 2015 and has features like in-app messaging and free goods delivery promos. Its CEO is Chris Feng. In the first half of 2017 alone, Shopee amassed over $3 billion in annualised gross merchandise value (GMV) across its 7 markets (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan).
It has been reported that many fake goods are for sale on Shopee. Shopee’s response to the issue of counterfeit goods is that only genuine products can be listed on Shopee. Their community rules on their website state that counterfeit goods are illegal and strictly prohibited, and that Shopee reserves the right to report and delete any listing of a counterfeit nature.
How to stop the selling of fakes in Southeast Asia
The three mentioned ecommerce platforms each have their own policy regarding intellectual property rights and counterfeit goods. The following information can be found regarding their anti-counterfeit policies:
Lazada: Lazada has a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ towards counterfeit goods. Their anti-counterfeit process is as follows:
Tokopedia: Infringing listings can be submitted via email (email@example.com). Attached in the email: the business incorporation certificate, a registration form, which has to be filled in and signed by the brand owner, the local IPR certificate, which includes the trademark certificate issued by the Indonesian IP office, and a list of the infringing URLs in the spreadsheet.
Shopee: Shopee’s website has its own takedown procedure. In order to report a counterfeit product, you can simply select the option “report this product” from the drop-down menu.
Pointer Brand Protection is a brand protection service that aims to help you with any problems regarding intellectual property, brand protection, and online enforcement in Southeast Asia, or anywhere else in the world. Contact us to improve your brand protection strategy, or if you have any questions.