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Alibaba Hires Ex-Apple, Pfizer Executive to Tackle Big Countfeit Problem

Matthew Bassiur is Alibaba's new head of global intellectual property enforcement.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Alibaba is trying to show once again that it is taking its counterfeit problem seriously.

The giant Chinese e-commerce company has hired ex-Apple and Pfizer employee Matthew Bassiur into a new role as head of global intellectual property enforcement. He’ll be based in the U.S. — specifically in New York City — so he can work closely with the large number of international brands based here as well as American law enforcement agencies, a spokesman said.

The appointment comes as the U.S. government, among others, continues to pressure Alibaba to do more to cut down on fake goods sold on its sites. Both Taobao, home to mostly mom-and-pop merchants, and Tmall, where big global brands sell goods, have had issues with knockoffs. Alibaba says it has several thousand employees working to limit the sale of counterfeit goods, but has still faced questions about how committed it is to curbing this behavior.

Bassiur will report to Michael Evans, Alibaba Group’s president, who was hired in August after a long career at Goldman Sachs. Bassiur was most recently the deputy chief security officer at Pfizer and also spent two years at Apple as a senior director on its intellectual property rights team. Prior to these two stints, Bassiur worked as a federal prosecutor and, before that, an assistant district attorney in New York City.

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