E-commerce players woo Taiwanese consumers

Updated 2017-11-14 11:37:19 Xinhua

Online traders from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan worked hard to prise open the e-wallets of islanders on this year's Singles' Day.

Instigated by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009, Singles' Day, which falls on November 11, has grown into an important annual online shopping event.

Alibaba raked in a record 168 billion yuan (over 25 billion U.S. dollars) this year, with Taiwan coming fourth on the list of the markets outside the Chinese mainland, partly due to the subsidized delivery and partnerships of Tmall, Alibaba's e-commerce retail platform, with local banks.

JD.com, another Chinese mainland online retail platform, began targeting Taiwan brands last year, and made its official entry into the island market this year with direct sales to Taiwanese consumers.

Jason Gao, a realtor in Taiwan, bought 13 pairs of basketball shorts for his team on Taobao.com Saturday for much less than in a local brick and mortar store and does not foresee any problems in delivery.

A poll done by local online human resource platform 1111 Job BankAbout Friday found 82 percent of the respondents expected to spend an average of around 140 U.S. dollars Saturday, the vey occasion of this year's Singles' Day.

Online shopping has become an everyday activity in Taiwan, with residents spending about an hour browsing each day and spending close around 100 U.S. dollars each month. Electronics, clothes, cosmetics and daily necessities are the most popular products.

Local e-commerce operators in Taiwan offered big discounts Saturday and some even extend their own event beyond 24 hours.

PChome, the island's main e-commerce player, worked with over 30 banks and discounted over two million products. Momo, another local operator, had more than double the usual number of visits, while Yahoo Kimo used live-streaming Thursday to stimulate record sales Friday.

A survey by the island's Institute for Information Industry found that about 44 percent of respondents preferred to use local platforms, but mainland sellers are becoming increasingly popular by offering more discounts and choices.

"Many products sold on Taobao cost less than local sellers can offer," Gao said. "I think some small local players even buy their products from mainland counterparts and resell them at a higher price."

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