In July last year, Chinese police arrested more than 36 people charged with duping overseas buyers of more than $6 million, by posing as buyers on the e-commerce website Alibaba. The crux of this scam was the “Gold Supplier” programme, which sought to make foreign buyers more comfortable doing business with Chinese suppliers. Suppliers in this programme were supposed to be vetted to ensure that they were who they said they were.
Alibaba’s website stated:
“…all Gold Supplier members have had their identities authenticated and verified by a reputable third-party security service provider. This means that the Gold Supplier member’s company registration details have undergone a thorough check to make sure that the entity is real and legitimate.”
But the Gold Supplier status was only as meaningful as the quality of the supplier screening. And therein lay the source of Alibaba’s crisis. The company discovered that some of its own…
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