Taobao, the world’s largest B2C e-commerce marketplace, was officially launched in Singapore, yesterday. With the site going live, Singapore consumers also got their own dedicated hotline. A dual language registration page will be available next month.
According to Taobao’s International Director Daphne Lee, Taobao currently has more than 280,000 registered users in Singapore, despite not having an official presence here. Singapore has also “seen tremendous growth locally in the last few years, most of which has been generated through organic interest of e-commerce platforms.”
With the new Singapore and Southeast Asia landing page, Singapore users who shop on Taobao can choose the International Parcel Forwarding Service and have their packages delivered to their doorsteps.
While the e-commerce vertical is a multi-billion dollar vertical in Singapore and Southeast Asia, there is intense competition in the space right now. Rocket Internet backed Lazada and Zalora, MediaCorp backed Reebonz as well as Japan’s e-commerce giant, Rakuten, all have been vying for a slice of the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia.
With these e-commerce sites establishing their presence in Singapore and Southeast Asia, all of these companies are expected to increase their marketing and advertising spends.
China-based Alibaba Group operates Alibaba.com, the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform for small businesses, and Taobao, China’s largest consumer online shopping platform, among other internet entities. In 2012, two of Alibaba’s portals together handled CNY1.1 trillion (US$170 billion) in sales, more than its competitors eBay and Amazon combined.
Alibaba is not only aggressively expanding Taobao’s international reach, but also pushing the overseas presence of AliExpress, its new online marketplace. How is it different from Taobao? Taobao is a platform where business owners can set up their online stores to sell their product, while AliExpress is a curated e-commerce wholesale marketplace.
Part of Alibaba AliExpress offers minimum orders as low as one item, buyer protection and express delivery with full tracking. AliExpress currently hosts more than 5,900 different types of products from over 44 different industries, and currently ships to Singapore.
There is currently no news as to whether the company will focus on growing AliExpress’ reach in Singapore or Southeast Asia.