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China's Alibaba meets with commerce regulator over fake product row

[BEIJING] The head of China's commerce regulator met with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd chairman Jack Ma on Friday to discuss combatting fake products, the official Xinhua news agency reported, with the two adopting a conciliatory tone after a row over illegal business on the internet company's platforms.

Mr Ma promised to "actively cooperate with the government (and) devote more capital" to weeding out fake goods, Xinhua said.

Zhang Mao, minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), said the company had made good efforts in safeguarding consumer interests and added his agency should find new modes of oversight for e-commerce.

SAIC issued what it called a "white paper" on Wednesday saying many products sold on Alibaba's e-commerce websites and services infringed on trademarks, were substandard or fake, were banned or endangered public security, and the company had not done enough to police the problem. White papers often convey official policy positions.

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But in a statement posted on its website on Friday, a spokesman for SAIC said the paper had no legal force and was actually not a white paper.

An Alibaba executive said on Thursday the report was flawed and the firm was preparing a formal complaint.