Alibaba, e-concierge, soon at your service

Alibaba, e-concierge, soon at your service

English.news.cn   2013-07-26

BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhuanet) — Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to boost its presence in China’s online market, and is adding services to ease consumers’ daily lives, from ordering food to booking movie tickets. The company expects the new business area to become a major revenue source in the future. Online shopping has become a new way of life for many Chinese consumers, said Zhang Jianfeng, vice-president of Alibaba Group. And the company has realized that customers are not satisfied with merely buying items on Internet.“Gradually, consumers are developing a strong demand for daily life services, in fields like catering, entertainment and travel,” Zhang said at a Beijing news conference on Thursday.

Taobao Life, a platform owned by Alibaba that provides such services, has been receiving unprecedented attention from Alibaba’s management since the beginning of the year. In March, Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma said that “amazing” things will happen if everyday activities are combined with mobile Internet services.

Ma compared the growing importance of e-commerce in people’s lives to “the rising sun at 5 or 6 am”, and Alibaba expressed its ambition to develop the new business to reach a scale similar to its booming Taobao Marketplace.

If so, investors who are eyeing Alibaba’s possible initial public offering will find another bright spot for the company’s future profitability, analysts said.

Alibaba is said to be planning to include its e-commerce platforms – Taobao Mall, Taobao Marketplace and eTao – into the planned IPO package. Last year, Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace posted about 1 trillion yuan ($163 billion) in total transaction value.

Zhang revealed that the Taobao Life platform has three strategic business sectors. One is Taobao Diandian, a mobile application launched in July that helps customers order food. More than 100 restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou have opened services on Diandian.

Meanwhile, Taobao Movie is the nation’s biggest mobile platform to buy film tickets. It allows clients in more than 100 Chinese cities to select seats from about 800 theaters, Zhang said.

The company also set up a platform on Taobao Life, known as Offer, which provides people with classifieds in areas such as apartment rentals and housekeeping services.

Song Yang, e-commerce senior analyst with the Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, said that there’s a promising future for companies able to successfully combine people’s everyday needs with the Internet-based services.

“There are no official statistics about the size of the market, but this is the future of e-commerce. Because the services are all about making people’s everyday life better and easier, ” Song said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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