Oct 31, 2012 02:10 PM

Tmall Plans to Link China's Consumers with Foreign Goods

(Beijing) – is planning to build a global procurement system to help Chinese consumers shop for foreign-made products, company Vice President Ma Xuejun says.

Ma said that the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's popular business-to-customer platform would set up a partnership with the International Brand Management Center of the China Association of International Trade, a trade research association under the Ministry of Commerce, to develop an international purchase system in the next one to two years.

Tmall's 2011 sales data indicated Chinese consumers have a growing appetite for foreign products, Ma said, but many think the prices they find online are too high.

Tmall will work with the center to build a database of international suppliers that Chinese consumers are most interested in, Ma said. It would then collect orders to make group purchases.

Center director Xu Jing said Chinese consumers lack information about foreign brands and products. The project would help them reach qualified overseas brands and promote international brands in the country.

The center would start contacting foreign trade associations and suppliers, and early on would focus on milk powder and fine wine, Xu said.

Food scandals have made foreign-made dairy products more attractive to Chinese parents, and increasingly affluent urbanites are keen to buy luxury items such as wine.

Online shopping is booming in the country. Last year online retailing was an 800 billion yuan industry, up 56 percent from 2010, the China e-Business Research Center reported. About 4 percent of all basic consumer purchases in the country are now made on the Net.

Tmall President Zhang Yong said in March that the company's 2011 sales exceeded 100 billion yuan, the highest among China's B2C companies. He predicted Tmall's 2012 sales would total 200 billion yuan.

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