‘Shout­ing match’ erupts be­tween e-com­merce firms

In run-up to Nov 11, JD.com com­plains against Alibaba for ‘dis­rupt­ing or­der’

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS CANADA - By FAN­FEIFEI andMASI

Ma­jor e-com­merce player JD.com Inc has filed a com­plaint with the author­i­ties claim­ing its ri­val Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd has been “dis­rupt­ing mar­ket or­der”.

In a state­ment is­sued on Tues­day, the Bei­jing-based com­pany com­plained to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Industry and Com­merce that Alibaba was ask­ing re­tail­ers to “choose sides” dur­ing the up­com­ingNov 11 Sin­gles’ Day shop­ping fes­ti­val.

“Alibaba has de­liv­ered a mes­sage to on­line re­tail­ers that if they par­tic­i­pate in its Tmall’s pro­mo­tional cam­paign on Nov 11, they will not be al­lowed to take part in any sim­i­lar events held by ri­val plat­forms,” JD said in a state­ment.

“If they

have

co­op­er­ated with ri­val plat­forms, they will be re­quired to exit from Tmall and be pun­ished in re­spect of flow and resources.

“Alibaba’s be­hav­ior not only hin­ders nor­mal mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion, but also se­verely un­der­mines con­sumers’ in­ter­ests.”

Alibaba re­sponded that any “mar­ket prob­lems should be re­solved by the mar­ket”.

“We will con­tinue of­fer­ing con­sumers qual­ity prod­ucts at lower prices,” it said, adding it will let con­sumers­make their own de­ci­sions.

Fang Ya, a spokes­woman for the prepa­ra­tion com­mit­tee for Tmall’s up­com­ing Sin­gles’ Day, said: “We will con­tinue to ex­pand our lead­ing ad­van­tages in price, de­liv­ery speed and af­ter-sales ser­vice, and ex­ceed our own and con­sumers’ ex­pec­ta­tions on prod­uct qual­ity.”

The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Industry and Com­merce was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

The coun­try’s two big­gest e-com­merce plat­forms are cur­rently locked in com­pe­ti­tion for more re­tail­ers, as the Nov 11 shop­ping day ap­proaches, when mil­lions of con­sumers are ex­pected to flood shop­ping web­sites in search of bar­gains.

On­line re­tail­ing has rapid growth this year.

Statis­tics from theN­ational Bureau of Statis­tics showed that sales of con­sumer goods from Jan­uary to Septem­ber this year were worth 21.6 tril­lion yuan ($3.43 tril­lion), a 10.5 per­cent in­crease year-onyear. On­line re­tail sales hit 2.6 tril­lion yuan, a 36.2 per­cent growth, ac­count­ing for 12 per­cent of to­tal sales.

Industry an­a­lysts said that what is most im­por­tant to the mar­ket right now is that e-com­merce plat­forms re­main open and com­pet­i­tive, and that such a shout­ing match did noth­ing but dam­age the im­age of the industry.

Lu Zhen­wang, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Shang­haibasedWan­qing Con­sul­tancy, said: “We can’t de­cide whether Alibaba’s be­hav­ior has bro­ken the law, as it has its own pro­mo­tional resources and has the right to al­lo­cate those resources to the

seen re­tail­ers that sup­port it.”

Feng Xiao­qing, a pro­fes­sor from China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law, how­ever, said that Alibaba’s “choose-one-side” ap­proach “might have an ef­fect on mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion”.

“Tmall oc­cu­pies a large share of the e-com­merce sec­tor, and any pol­icy that re­quires re­tail­ers to choose one side or the other may be un­fair to ri­vals.”

Ac­cord­ing to a reg­u­la­tion is­sued by the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Industry and Com­merce, e-com­merce plat­forms should not “limit or ex­clude re­tail­ers that en­gage in pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties on its plat­form, to at­tend cam­paigns or­ga­nized on third­party trad­ing plat­forms”. The reg­u­la­tion has been in ef­fect since Oct 1.

“We should wait for the industry author­ity to de­cide whether Alibaba’s be­hav­ior is per­mit­ted by law,” Feng said.

Con­tact the writ­ers at fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn and masi @chi­nadaily.com.cn

WU CHANGQING/FOR CHINA DAILY

A de­liv­ery agent rides past the head­quar­ters of e-com­merce com­pany JD.com Inc in Bei­jing.

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