Brand Protection on Chinese E-commerce Platforms: A Qualitative Study of how Swedish SMEs within the Design and Retail Industries in China Optimally can Prevent their Business from IPR Infringements on Chinese E-commerce Platforms

Robin Agné & Niklas Fridman

Student thesis: Master thesis


The era of globalization has led to an increased integration of world markets across all fields of international business. Firms operating in any country today are able to achieve increased growth and revenue by investing and selling their products in markets outside of their country of origin. The People's Republic of China (hereafter China) has been among the world's fastest growing economies during recent decades with GDP growth figures constantly around double-digits. As China's economy is currently undergoing a transition towards a more service- and consumptiondriven economy, the Chinese e-commerce market is already the world's largest, displaying vast market potential and development opportunities for investing firms. However, due to China's underdeveloped institutional framework, potential risks of infringements of a firm's Intellectual Property Rights (hereafter IPR), remain an obstacle. Thus, one important aspect to consider when investing in the Chinese market today, is how to optimally protect the firm’s IPR on Chinese e-commerce platforms. As a consequence, this paper aims to analyze how Swedish SMEs within the design and retail industries in China are preventing their business from IPR infringements and if it is in accordance with current optimal practices. With “optimal practices”, our intention is to investigate how SMEs optimally can protect their IPR against infringements found on ecommerce platforms in China today. This leads us to the research question of this paper:
How can Swedish SMEs within the design and retail industries in China optimally prevent their business from IPR Infringements on Chinese e-commerce platforms? Our study provide several guidelines for Swedish SMEs on how to optimally protect their brand from IPR infringements on Chinese e-commerce platforms today, namely:
(1) register the firm's trademarks and copyrights in China,
(2) understand the characteristics of China's trademark law,
(3) appoint a person in charge of IPR management,
(4) segment the Chinese e-commerce market, and
(5) cooperate with Chinese e-commerce platforms.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Business and Development Studies, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages108
SupervisorsVerner Worm