Taobao joins forces for expansion
Taobao Mall, the mainland's largest e-commerce service provider, expects to generate up to 200 billion yuan (HK$244 billion) in sales next year as it fosters co-operation with major domestic online retailers.
The privately held company, a unit of Hangzhou-based internet giant Alibaba Group, yesterday announced that 38 leading mainland business-to-consumer site operators had committed to join its open platform.
Taobao Mall president Daniel Zhang said it would also work with a range of logistics service providers 'to create a quality retail infrastructure for the online B2C sector in China'.
Vancl.com, the biggest online apparel retailer on the mainland, is arguably the highest-profile new merchant-partner of Taobao Mall. The Beijing-based firm reportedly plans to raise US$1 billion from its initial public offering in the United States in the fourth quarter.
Another top online retailer joining Taobao Mall is Yihaodian, whose name means 'No 1 Store' in Chinese and which has US retail chain Wal-Mart as a minority investor.
Other online merchants that have signed up with Taobao Mall include Yintai, Newegg, M18, Cool8 and Redbaby.
By assembling what it described as the 'widest variety of quality brands and authentic products in a single online shopping destination', Taobao Mall projected its gross merchandise volume to double to 200 billion yuan from an estimated 100 billion yuan this year.
'There are no foreign B2C sites [joining Taobao Mall] at this time, but we certainly do not rule out the possibility of this in the future,' an Alibaba Group spokeswoman said
The three most popular product categories on Taobao Mall are fashion, electronics, and furniture and home furnishings.
Alibaba Group, the parent of Hong Kong-listed business-to-business e-commerce provider Alibaba.com, reorganised online retail unit Taobao into three wholly owned companies last June.
Taobao Mall runs the online shopping portal, while Taobao Marketplace is responsible for social networking site Taojianghu, small consumer-to-consumer transactions and the Juhuasuan group-buying portal. The eTao shopping search engine also covers the Taoke online advertising platform.