Tmall: Attackers are illegal traders
Updated: 2011-12-20 07:24
HANGZHOU - Taobao.com, China's largest online trade platform, has accused those protesting the platform of being illegal merchandisers that had been punished by the platform, a spokesman for the platform said at a news conference on Monday afternoon in East China's Zhejiang province.
The online and offline attacks were triggered after the platform announced that it would quintuple its service fees starting in October. The protests began with small sellers attacking big sellers. The protests escalated when 200 sellers protested at the Taobao.com headquarters in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang. Later, some sellers gathered in Hong Hong and set up a mourning hall for Taobao.com on Dec 16.
Shao Xiaofeng, general secretary and vice president of the Alibaba Group, founder of Taobao.com, said the 11 of the 19 protest organizers had previously opened shops on Taobao.com, but they had been fined or closed down by the platform for fraud or poor quality.
Shao said one of the Hong Hong protest organizers named "Laozhou," a merchandiser who was also an organizer for the online attacks, sold substandard products from his shop in Taobao.com and his shop was closed by the platform in October.
Laozhou confirmed with Xinhua that he was among the organizers of the "Anti-Taobao" parade. "My products were indeed without washing tags, but it's up to the government to decide whether my shop should be closed," he told Xinhua.
"Taobao might be the largest anti-fake team. The online business develops too fast. There are no ready-made experiences and methods, because it is a new thing. The rules were developed by our young team after discussions and study," said Ma Yun, board chairman of Alibaba.
Taobao.com facilitates business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer retail and has 4,100 staff members. The platform now has eight million shops with an annual turnover of 600 billion yuan ($94.6 billion).
As the B2C part of Taobao.com, Tmall.com said in October it would regulate entry into its online marketplace by increasing annual service fees for businesses from 6,000 yuan to 30,000 or 60,000 yuan, depending on the scale of the company applying for entry.
The fees will be fully or partially returned to the traders on the condition that their scale and service quality meet the target set by Tmall.
Under the new policy, larger businesses would hardly be affected, as the fees would take up only a small part of their sales, while medium and small-scale merchandisers could feel a financial pinch.
However, Tmall said that as long as sellers adhere to the company's business standards, they would eventually get their money back.