Yahoo Hong Kong fires first salvo in cross-Straits e-commerce push

Updated: 2015-11-06 09:16

By Luo Weiteng in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Internet giant Yahoo Hong Kong has gone on the e-commerce spree, launching its Hong Kong-Taiwan cross-Straits platform on Thursday.

It also marks Yahoo's first move at building up what's billed as the largest cross-Straits e-commerce network, and pinning high hopes on "Double 11" - the world's biggest online shopping festival on Nov 11.

More than 100 Taiwan brands, ranging from the famous pineapple-cake maker SunnyHills to popular medical skincare brand Dr Wu, will be among the first batch of products to hit the shelves on the newly-launched business-to-consumer (B2C) online shopping platform.

As its next step, the tech behemoth is inviting Hong Kong's much sought-after products to get on board, as early as next year.

"But if local brands come along, like the home-grown butter cookie phenomenon Jenny Bakery, I would be more than happy to see its hand-made rich butter cookies go on sale on our website tomorrow," said Jacky Wang, vice-president of e-commerce group at Yahoo Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Yahoo Hong Kong reportedly owns a big slice of Taiwan's e-commerce market, operating three different online shopping platforms on the island at the moment - the Yahoo Super Mall (business-to-business-to-consumer), the Yahoo Shopping Center (B2C) and the Yahoo Auction (consumer-to-consumer).

The company is betting big on the SAR's e-commerce market, which boasts 2.9 million online customers, or 53 percent of the city's online population.

According to Francis Che, insight head of research team at Yahoo Asia Pacific, Hong Kong and Taiwan netizens have a lot in common in their online shopping behavior.

Yahoo Hong Kong data show that more than 70 percent of the population in Hong Kong and Taiwan use mobile devices for online shopping.

Clothes, mobile accessories and stationary items are among the hottest items sought by online shoppers in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Wang said Hong Kong and Taiwan are "test fields" and the starting points for Yahoo Hong Kong's foray into the e-commerce market. In the near future, the company will expand its e-commerce footprint in more countries and regions.

Yahoo Hong Kong fires first salvo in cross-Straits e-commerce push

Although the mainland's now-dominant online shopping channels - Alibaba's Taobao and Tmall - are stepping up their presence in both markets, Wang believes that Yahoo Hong Kong's e-commerce platform still enjoys an edge in providing "above average quality" brands from Taiwan.

The major advantage of Taobao and Tmall, he pointed out, lies in the bargain price they offer. But, pricing is by no means the only factor that consumers consider when shopping online.

As for the Taiwan market, where the influence of mainland e-commerce giants is believed to be limited, Wang said many local e-commerce websites already have a firm grip on consumers there.

However, it seems the dominance that Taiwan-grown online shopping websites have established in the local market comes from Alibaba's high market entry threshold.

Earlier this year, Taiwan gave Alibaba six months to wind down Taobao's operations on the island after it failed to apply for a business permit.

Reports said it's the second time this year that Alibaba has fallen foul of the law in Taiwan for failing to register itself as a mainland company.

Alibaba said the matter has been settled and its operations in Taiwan are unaffected.

(HK Edition 11/06/2015 page8)