New e-commerce service takes challenge to rival Alibaba
Shanghai Media Group and Singapore-based YuuZoo are due to launch this week a new social media and e-commerce platform to challenge Alibaba Group's online shopping market leader Tmall.com.
"We are very optimistic that we can be one of the top social e-commerce players in the [mainland] China market within the next three years because of Shanghai Media Group's broad reach and our unique concept," Thomas Zilliacus, YuuZoo's chairman and chief executive, told the South China Morning Post.
"We're creating a new value proposition for both consumers and advertisers by linking social networks with e-commerce to TV shows."
Earlier this month, YuuZoo signed an exclusive 10-year partnership agreement with Great Sports Media, the sports, lifestyle and casual gaming division of Shanghai Media, and Xin Lei Network Technology (Shanghai), a company formed by Shanghai Media to enable the operation of the partnership's next-generation e-commerce platform on the mainland.
Shanghai Media, the mainland's second-biggest media conglomerate by revenue, has an estimated domestic television viewing audience of more than 700 million. It operates 11 radio stations, 15 terrestrial television channels, 15 digital pay-television channels, and nine newspapers and magazines.
The Chinese-language social e-commerce portal built on YuuZoo technology will enable the audience of Great Sports Media to watch live events, participate in competitions, post comments and photos, and buy merchandise and services linked to the network's television shows.
"That means we can make more money from advertisers and e-commerce, which is an industry being driven nowadays by recommendations on social networks," Zilliacus said.
Great Sports Media and Xin Lei together control 60 per cent of the partnership, which runs social networks based on brands and interests linked to a virtual shopping mall. This platform will start operations this week on Great Sport Media's flagship 24-hour sports channel.
Zilliacus said YuuZoo provides a platform that is "fully optimised for mobile devices".
The capability to handle mobile transactions augurs well for YuuZoo's partnership with Great Sports Media to meet a growing trend on the mainland for online shopping, estimated by iResearch to have reached 1.84 trillion yuan (HK$2.31 trillion) in total revenue last year.
Alicia Yap, head of China internet research at Barclays in Hong Kong, said in a report that e-commerce competition on the mainland was intensifying "with faster adoption in mobile commerce".
Mobile online shoppers on the mainland reached 205 million at the end of last month as the number of users accessing the internet on smartphones and media tablets totaled 527 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre.