Controlled by Chinese giants AliBaba and Tencent, AliExpress and WeChat have built their notoriety by facilitating the “free” trade in counterfeit goods, mostly from China.
Added to the famous Piracy List, AliExpress and WeChat are officially labeled as platforms specializing in the marketing of pirated goods, it is only a matter of time before the initiative taken by the US authorities is mirrored in similar measures by the EU authorities. Logically, the next step would be to announce concrete sanctions for the trade carried out through those platforms, possibly also applicable to the buyers who frequent them.
Posing in a legitimate e-commerce platform, where smaller or larger Chinese retailers can effortlessly open their own online store from which to sell their goods to buyers around the world, AliExpress is actually a kind of virtual bazaar , where you can find all kinds of “little things”, from clothes and handicrafts, to consumer electronics. All at lower prices than anywhere else on the internet and most often counterfeit. Of course, there are also stores opened by reputable Chinese brands (eg Xiaomi), but these are rather exceptions and are often competed, also on AliExpress, by other virtual stores that offer counterfeit versions of those products.
Operating under the guise of one of the largest messaging platforms in the world, countless other “boutiques” specializing in counterfeit goods operate on WeChat.
In both cases, it is a very difficult task to follow the countless packages of much undervalued value and possibly the “persuasion” of the buyers to accept the proper taxation of the ordered goods and with very low success rates. In the end, those who knowingly or unknowingly bought counterfeit goods are left to fend for themselves, taking out of the box products of questionable or downright dangerous quality. Above all, there is the potential for trade in banned substances, the traces of which are easily lost among millions of other packages.
The United States and China have the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, but this has been strained in recent years, with the Trump administration pushing for tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of imports from China. And as the same counterfeit goods reach Europe as well, the chances of the EU authorities announcing obstacles to AliExpress are quite high.