Alibaba invests in NFC product authentication for brands

The ecommerce behemoth's interest in using NFC tags to fight counterfeiting could herald a new dawn for the technology
REAL DEAL: The Chinese ecommerce behemoth will help brands use NFC tags to fight fakes

E-commerce giant Alibaba has invested in NFC and RFID specialist Smartrac Technology Group and taken a seat on the company’s board. The investment, Alibaba says, is designed to enable the two companies to provide brands with “innovative product authentication solutions at scale.”

“We are continuously innovating and partnering to provide market-leading solutions and highest levels of brand protection for our clients,” Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group, says. “We are thrilled to support Smartrac and together provide brands with innovative product authentication solutions.”

Smartrac’s Smart Cosmos platform enables brands to use NFC to securely create and embed a unique digital identity into each individual product at the point of manufacture.

“This product identity can only be issued by the brand and can’t be faked, copied, stolen or lost,” the company explains. “Thus, it provides full control and visibility of each genuine product throughout its product lifetime. In addition, brand owners can deliver exclusive and dynamic content to their consumers to increase customer engagement, loyalty and satisfaction, at the simple tap of a phone.”