Monday, May 10, 2010

Taobao pushes outside China

Taobao took a big step towards internationalizing its reach today. The Alibaba Group subsidiary and Yahoo Japan have announced a deal to allow sellers from both platforms to sell in either market.

Yahoo Japan will host Taobao sellers in the "China Mall" section on its website. This will grant Taobao sellers access to the 60 million plus users of Yahoo Japan. The "TaoJapan" section of the Taobao platform will give Japanese merchants the chance to sell to TaoBao's registered user base which is now more than 190 million.

When the new service launches in June, some 50 million Chinese products are expected to be listed on Yahoo Japan and Taobao is expected to list eight million Chinese products.

If Taobao goes increasingly international, the difference between a listing on Taobao and could become blurry. Taobao is a B2C-focused e-commerce platform and is B2B, but that distinction will erode as the two companies compete for very similar product listings.

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