Hong Kong, Dec 10: iMing Corp announced today that the company plans to open an E-commerce online retail store at Taobao Marketplace. Taobao Marketplace is a Chinese language web site for online shopping, similar to eBay and Amazon, operated in China. Founded by Alibaba Group in May 10, 2003, Taobao Marketplace facilitates consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail by providing a platform for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs to open online retail stores that mainly cater to consumers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Taobao Marketplace (formerly “Taobao”) was launched in May 2003 by Alibaba Group after eBay acquired Eachnet, China’s online auction leader at the time, for US$180 million and became the major player in the Chinese consumer e-commerce market. To counter eBay’s expansion, Taobao offered free listings to sellers and introduced website features designed to better cater to local consumers, such as an instant messaging tool for facilitating buyer-seller communication and an escrow-based payment tool, Alipay. As a result, Taobao became the undisputed market leader in mainland China within two years. Its market share jumped from 8% to 59% between 2003 and 2005, while eBay China’s slid from 79% to 36%. eBay had to shut down its own site in China in 2006.
In April 2008, Taobao introduced a dedicated B2C platform called Taobao Mall to complement its C2C marketplace. Since then, Taobao Mall has established itself as the destination for quality, brand name goods for Chinese consumers. Taobao Mall launched an independent web domain, tmall.com, and enhanced its focus on product verticals and improvements in shopping experience in November 2010. It became an independent business in June 2011 and changed its Chinese name to Tian Mao (Tmall) in January 2012.
In 2008, Taobao also announced the “Big Taobao” strategy with the aim of becoming a provider of e-commerce infrastructure services for all e-commerce market participants, hence fueling the overall growth of the online shopping industry. In October 2010, Taobao beta launched eTao as an independent online shopping search engine, providing product and merchant information from a number of major consumer e-commerce websites in China.
In June 2011, Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Jack Ma revealed that Taobao will be split into three different companies: Taobao Marketplace (a C2C platform), Tmall.com (a B2C platform; then called Taobao Mall), and eTao (a shopping search engine). The move was said to be necessary for Taobao to “meet competitive threats that emerged in the past two years during which the Internet and e-commerce landscape has changed dramatically.”
From 2012 onwards, Taobao began to accept international Visa and Mastercard credit cards; prior, only domestic banks were supported by AliPay. The plan to support international credit cards was announced in late 2011. Taobao Marketplace currently has more than 370 million registered users as of the end of 2010 and currently hosts more than 800 million product listings. it facilitated approximately RMB200 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2009. In May 2012, Taobao ranked 14th overall in Alexa’s internet rankings.
In 2009 Taobao saw advertising revenues of $220 million. Advertising accounts for a majority of Taobao’s income. Analysts believe Taobao’s turnover exceeded 400 billion RMB in 2010 and revenues surpassed 5 billion RMB. (Taobao’s information is from Wikipedia).