Small Business-People vs. $260 Billion Company

This is an interesting article about Alibaba, one of the world’s largest e-commerce websites, with a primary focus on exporting goods from China. The article is written from the perspective of a small business owner in the United States, one who makes antique tables. His tables, which cost approximately $5,000, were knocked off on Alibaba for $24. (See article). The article outlines Alibaba’s claims that it proactively fights counterfeit goods, along with the small business owner’s fight against the company, armed with only “his iMac, $74-a-month image-searching software, his phone and a lot of time — sometimes, he says, 12 hours a day.” Id. 

This article is relevant to the class for a few reasons. It shows what kind of competition a small business owner and/or entrepreneur could be faced with in our increasingly connected world. It also allows for some insight into the importance of IP, especially with how much easier it is to manufacture something quickly than it was in the past. Overall, I found this to be an informative read.

One thought on “Small Business-People vs. $260 Billion Company

  1. I really enjoyed this read. It touches on the issues faced by artisan makers generally when big industry players grab what they do and run with it. Its analogous in intangible businesses too, such as Apple essentially and taking the idea of a nighttime mode from the makers of .flux. Maybe the solution isn’t for the owner to commit 12 hours a day to policing an IP issue making his designs available to a broader audience – maybe it is to create an “authentic” marketing scheme whereby the customers who would have paid $5,000 now get a limited edition w/ a unique RFID tag to prove the authenticity of the table? There are loads of ETSY makers who have seen their designs get hijacked and mass produced.