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Global players eye regional e-commerce market

Via Today Online : SINGAPORE — In the run-up to the widely-anticipated entry of American giant Amazon into the local retail scene, global players are jostling to carve a niche in the regional market. On Tuesday (June 13), Alibaba Group announced the launch of Tmall World, aimed at shoppers in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Leveraging on its e-commerce Taobao website, the new Chinese-language online platform will kick off with a promotional sale period over the weekend (June 18-20), featuring discounts worth a total of Rmb10 billion (S$2 billion). Tagged as the Tmall 6.18 Mid-Year Mega Sale, the offerings will be targeted at the region’s Chinese-speaking population, estimated to number 100 million, according to a press statement by the Alibaba Group.

Alibaba will provide end-to-end solutions including logistics, payment and localisation support catering to each local market’s needs, said the company. The firm plans to extend the Tmall World network to other countries in the future, it said.

Last year, Alibaba made a majority investment in Lazada Group, which has an established presence in South-east Asia. Lazada recently launched its Taobao Collection in Singapore and Malaysia to cater to customers who prefer to shop on an English-language website. The dedicated local collection links shoppers in Singapore and Malaysia directly to Taobao through Lazada’s online platform.

In Hong Kong, where Tmall is already a household name, Alibaba will expand the product categories, adding Tmall Supermarket to the existing local offering.

Lazada has also launched its LiveUp membership programme, which offers benefits, such as rebates and discounts across a range of service providers such as Netflix, Uber, RedMart, Uber, UberEats and Lazada.

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma told investors last Friday the company is aiming to have 2 billion customers within 15 years, with overseas customers accounting for 1.2 billion of those users. Alibaba had roughly 450 million active annual buyers on its China marketplaces in the year ended March 31.

Rival Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com Inc is also expanding operations in South-east Asia. On Friday JD.com chief executive Richard Liu told Reuters that the firm plans to launch services in Thailand by the end of the year, building on existing activities in Indonesia.

Meanwhile in Singapore, global shopping forum Pepper.com has launched Pelando.sg, a social commerce network that brings together shoppers to find and share the latest deals and discounts. Worldwide, the platform is used by more than 25 million users and generates 500 million page views every month, said the company in a media statement.

Popular e-retailers currently “live” on Pelando.sg are Zalora, Lazada, FoodPanda, RedMart, Groupon and Sephora. Users review and rate deals and coupons in categories like fashion and accessories, electronics, mobiles and travel.

“More and more Singaporeans are taking to online shopping mainly because it offers greater variety and cheaper prices compared to physical stores. Also, Internet users of Singapore are the world’s fastest adopters of shopping via mobile,” said Mr Mehul Jobanputra, co-founder of DesiDime.com, Pepper’s partner in India.

“All these trends clearly show the undeniably huge potential of Singapore’s e-commerce market, while Pelando, as a shopping community, bringing the hottest deals, discounts and coupons on one platform, will only enhance the online shopping experience of Singaporeans, and help them make more informed shopping decisions.” AGENCIES

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