WASHINGTON—American pop star Taylor Swift is launching her own branded clothing line to be sold by China’s two biggest online retailers, in an effort to fight rampant counterfeiting in the country.
The singer, 25, is partnering with JD.com and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to sell Taylor Swift-branded clothing items directly to consumers in China.
The Wall Street Journal said the move is a response to China’s “huge market of unauthorized Taylor Swift products, with e-commerce peddlers selling everything from fake perfume to pirated autographed guitars.”
The report said each clothing item from the official Taylor Swift line will include a special tag that allows customers to track the authenticity online.
Western companies have long complained of intellectual property theft and illegal merchandising in China.
Earlier this year, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, a trade group representing clothing makers, wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman complaining about the prevalence of counterfeit goods sold on Alibaba’s websites, particularly its Taobao retail site.
“Alibaba’s TaoBao platform is notorious as one of the biggest platforms for counterfeit goods worldwide. Our members encounter innumerable counterfeits on TaoBao every day, which result in millions of dollars of lost sales, damage to reputation, legal costs, and exhaustion of internal resources,” the letter said.
The cost of a fake pair of Taylor Swift sneakers on Taobao is about $10, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Alibaba has said it was taking the issue seriously.
Next month, JD.com and Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace are to carry Swift-branded T-shirts, at a cost of $60. The singer is also launching a women’s collection exclusively on JD.com with “high-quality dresses, sweatshirts and tops” ranging from $100 to $120.
“The line was designed exclusively for the Chinese market with local consumers in mind, and will only be available for sale in China,” JD.com said in a statement. “The styles were created by Taylor Swift in partnership with Heritage66 Company, which represents American artists seeking to expand their reach in China.”
The moves by Swift, a 7-time Grammy award winner, come ahead of concert dates in November in Shanghai.
Her latest album “1989,” has sold more than five million albums in the U.S. alone. It achieved the feat in only its 36th week of release, the fastest rise to five million in more than 10 years, according to Billboard.