On­line shop­ping firms see rise in mo­bile busi­ness

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS COMPANIES - By MENG JING mengjing@chi­nadaily.com.cn 21 min­utes 53.1 bil­lion yuan (H1) 15 min­utes 130 bil­lion yuan* (full year)

Shop­ping via mo­bile de­vices is catch­ing on rapidly in China, with the coun­try’s In­ter­net gi­ant Alibaba Group an­nounc­ing that its Taobao mo­bile shop­ping app had at­tracted 100 mil­lion new users in the first half of this year.

Taobao.com, which is owned by Alibaba, said in a news re­lease on Thurs­day that there had been a three­fold in­crease in the num­ber of cus­tomers in the first half com­pared with the same pe­riod last year. It in­cluded both ac­tive users of the com­pany’s mo­bile shop­ping apps and those who vis­ited its on­line mar­ket­places via mo­bile de­vices.

The com­pany did not dis­close the to­tal value of pur­chases made via mo­bile de­vices, but it said its share of to­tal on­line trans­ac­tions through mo­bile shop­ping had risen mas­sively be­tween Jan­uary and June.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, about 339,000 ven­dors on Taobao’s on­line mar­ket­place re­ported that more than 30 per­cent of their in­di­vid­ual turnover was gen­er­ated by pur­chases made via mo­bile de­vices by the end of June. The num­ber of ven­dors in­creased by 412 per­cent year-on-year.

Taobao is not the only win­ner from China’s boom in mo­bile-based shop­ping.

Statis­tics from the Hangzhou-based China e-Busi­ness Re­search Cen­ter showed that the turnover of the mo­bile e-com­merce mar­ket in China in­creased by 44.1 per­cent yearon-year to 53.2 bil­lion yuan ($8.69 bil­lion) in the first half. The turnover of the mar­ket is ex­pected to more than dou­ble to 130 bil­lion yuan by the end of 2013.

The surge of sales in smart­phones and tablet com­put­ers as well as the grow­ing use of third-gen­er­a­tion mo­bile net­works are the main fac­tors driv­ing the de­vel­op­ment of mo­bile shop­ping, said Mao Ajing, an e-com­merce an­a­lyst with the Bei­jing- based re­search firm Analysys In­ter­na­tional.

“It is also a change of life­style. Those who stare at com­put­ers for eight hours a day of­ten want to switch to other mo­bile de­vices af­ter work,” Mao said, adding that those who shop via mo­bile de­vices are usu­ally those who have al­ready made on­line pur­chases through per­sonal com­put­ers.

“That is why mo­bile shop­pers can­not be re­garded as a new growth point for on­line retailers. They can­not bring ad­di­tional rev­enue. Ba­si­cally, mo­bile shop­ping and tra­di­tional on­line shop­ping com­plete each other,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by the China e-Busi­ness Re­search Cen­ter in midAu­gust, most peo­ple choose to shop via mo­bile de­vices be­tween 8 and 10 am, as well as 6 and 8 pm, while they com­mute to and from work.

Mao from Analysys In­ter­na­tional said the limited time frame makes it “im­pos­si­ble” for mo­bile shop­ping to over­take tra­di­tional on­line shop­ping as the main pow­er­house for the growth of China’s on­line shop­ping mar­ket.

How­ever, with more peo­ple switch­ing from shop­ping via com­put­ers to shop­ping via mo­bile phones, tra­di­tional on­line retailers have been ag­gres­sively build­ing up their mo­bile busi­ness, in­clud­ing re­leas­ing apps for smart­phones.

Con­sult­ing firm iRe­search Inc said that Taobao, JD.com and Ten­cent Inc were the top three in China’s mo­bile shop­ping mar­ket in the sec­ond quar­ter of this year, with Taobao ac­count­ing for 76.2 per­cent of the to­tal trans­ac­tions.

It seems women in small cities in China had con­trib­uted the ma­jor­ity of Taobao’s mo­bile shop­ping busi­ness. Statis­tics from Taobao showed that fe­male users spend an aver­age 21 min­utes a day surf­ing on Taobao’s mo­bile app, while male users spend an aver­age 15 min­utes a day.

Users in third- and fourthtier cities, such as Tang­shan in He­bei prov­ince and Da­tong in Shanxi prov­ince, spend more than 20 min­utes on aver­age ac­cess­ing Taobao via mo­bile de­vices ev­ery day. Users in first-tier cities, such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai, spent 18.5 min­utes, said Taobao.

Mao Daiqing, an­a­lyst with the China e- Busi­ness Re­search Cen­ter, said that it is im­por­tant to build In­ter­net in­fra­struc­tures in small cities in China. She said this is the main chal­lenge for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of mo­bile shop­ping in China.

AVER­AGE AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT EACH DAY ON TAOBAO’S MO­BILE APP CHINA’S MO­BILE E-COM­MERCE MAR­KET REV­ENUE

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