The Alibaba Group will provide Taiwan authorities with the information they have demanded from the company after accusing it of being improperly registered and threatening to oust it from the island, executive chairman Jack Ma said on Tuesday.
Ma made the remarks on the sidelines of an event discussing entrepreneurship with university students in Taipei after Taiwan’s investment regular said on Monday that Alibaba had violated rules in its registration eight years ago.
He told reporters that Alibaba started its business in Taiwan in accordance with regulations but that it “may lack sufficient communication” with Taiwanese authorities.
The island’s investment regulator said the Chinese Internet giant’s Taiwan branch had registered as a Singaporean company but was in fact a mainland company, thus violating rules governing mainland companies. The regulator said it would have to quit the island and be subject to a fine of 120,000 (about 3,800 U.S. dollars).
“Alibaba is not a company that gives up easily and the Taiwan market is very important to us,” he said when asked if Alibaba would quit Taiwan.
Its Taiwan branch has been operating since 2008 and has about 300,000 customers.
Ma said as a global company, Alibaba will follow local regulations anywhere it invests.
Taiwan’s investment regulator revealed on Monday that it had been looking into Alibaba’s shareholding structure since it raised a record 25 billion U.S. dollars in its IPO in New York last year.
It said it had requested documents from the company in clarification but that these documents were not provided.
Chinese mainland investment in Taiwan is strictly regulated for political reasons despite growing trade and economic ties since the late 2000s.
When asked about fake goods found on Alibaba’s Taobao.com platform, Ma said the company invests plenty of resources in protecting intellectual property rights, shutting down millions of online stores and submitting leads to police for the arrests of more than 400 suspected counterfeiters last year.
“We will use big data technology and cloud computing to let society know where fake goods are produced and sold,” Ma said, adding the company welcomes tip-offs from the public on fake goods found on its platforms.
On Monday, Alibaba announced plans to invest 10 billion new Taiwan dollars in a non-profit fund to help start-ups in Taiwan through Alibaba’s online platforms, following a similar fund in Hong Kong worth 1 billion Hong Kong dollars (129 million U.S. dollars).
While meeting about 2,000 university students on Tuesday, Ma said that young people in Taiwan are hard-working and creative, and he hoped the fund will help them realize their dreams.
The fund, which Ma expects to launch in the second half of this year after regulatory approval, will be overseen by independent and professional investment managers, he said. Enditem