Rumor: ‘Taobao Electronics Mall’ to Launch Early 2010
Rumor is abound that Taobao is preparing the launch of a dedicated B2C consumer electronics platform, which is internally being referred to as the “Taobao Electronics Mall”, before 2010 Chinese New Years.
The products offered on the platform will range from home appliances to computers to mobile phones – basically anything you can find in the Gome electronics store.
TFG’s inside sources
There is no official comment from Taobao – but my sources inside say they have been noticing that some of the top programmers and business operations people disappearing from the office in the past two months. Speculation is that they have been siphoned off and reassigned to this top secret new project.
With the launch of this Taobao Electronics Mall, it signals that Taobao is contemplating venturing into specialized B2C platforms to address different pockets of consumer needs. With the many specialized platforms in China’s B2C sector such as 360buy for consumer electronics; Dangdang for books and music; and Eachnet for household goods, Taobao seems to have recognized demand for segmented platforms and is deciding to test out the waters with consumer electronics. This begs the question of whether Taobao will also launch specialized B2C platforms for other product categories.
Taobao zigs while others zag
The interesting thing is, Taobao is going in the opposite direction from that of 360buy, which had previously been solely dedicated to consumer electronics. 360buy launched a general mall earlier this year that sells everything from household goods to apparel, but it hasn’t been very well received and perceived by industry insiders as a risky foray into unfamiliar waters while abandoning their core business.
The Shanghai connection
For the Taobao Electronics Mall, Taobao aims to provide a platform for B2C or C2C but not engage in the sale of products itself. However, the fact that Taobao is setting up a logistics center in Shanghai raises questions of whether it may be for the purposes of this new B2C consumer electronics platform.