Friday, October 27, 2006

Ali-wannabes crowd in

Two interesting snips yesterday showing that there are many companies out there who would like a bit of's action (and the HC360 pie perhaps). Firstly, the launch of the oddly-named Yaphon B2B alliance which claims:

Being a Chinese B2B professional organization that enjoys the most abundant trading resources and attracts the most types of industries to participate, the establishment of Yaphon B2B Alliance marks the end of separate operation of online trading by individual sites.

That last claim is pretty radical. The CCP Propaganda Department-style phrasing, though, raises some suspicions about the provenance of this initiative. It goes on to claim:

Before this, occupied a big share in China's B2B e-business market. However, the establishment of ''Yaphon B2B Alliance (B2B Alliance)'' also indicates that the Chinese B2B market has begun to combine the advantageous resources and demonstrate Chinese suppliers to overseas buyers in an organized way.

I somehow doubt that Jack and the boys in Hangzhou are quaking in their boots just yet despite the way in which that first sentence seems to imply their imminent demise.

Elsewhere, the Shanghai Daily reports on's entry into the Chinese marketplace:

THE world's leading Internet marketplace for industrial products put its Chinese site online yesterday to help its overseas members, including some on the Fortune Global 500 list, find cheap made-in-China industrial parts.

Some interesting claims on pricing and potential audience here from a typically optimistic-sounding American boss, Mitch Free, apparently new to China:

Currently there are only about 100 Chinese companies paying US$5,000 a year for its service. But it said thousands of other Chinese suppliers had registered for a free three-month trial. Most of them were small- and medium-sized companies, according to Free.

Its unified flat membership fee is cheaper than that of the international trade site of, which charges between 60,000 yuan (US$7,500) to 200,000 yuan a year.

I'm not sure he's comparing like with like here and may wish to look to his surname for what Chinese suppliers really prefer to pay.

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