Sina Weibo & Alibaba- joint e-commerce Platform
Three months after Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested $586 million in microblogging platform Sina Weibo, the two companies have made great progress and announced on 1st August that they will collaborate Weibo with Taobao accounts to make it easier for Weibo users to shop and make payments on e-commerce site Taobao.
On the day before the announcement was made, there was rumour that Taobao would suspend the use of WeChat for the benefit of the cooperation.
Link your Sina accounts to your Taobao accounts
Weibo-Taobao platform will be rolled out today and open to commercial users in batches. It will mainly be PC-based at this stage and its mobile app is still under development.
Alibaba and Sina’s publicly shown detail of cooperation also shows that after tying their accounts on both platforms together, Weibo users can shop and make payments on Taobao. Also, with Taobao’s backstage system embedded in Weibo, sellers can upload products and relevant postings to Sina Weibo via Taobao. New features also include sales monitor, conversion rate analysis, influence analysis, etc.
Some insiders point out that the Weibo-Taobao platform makes it more convenient for the sellers. Their shop’s names as well as the image and price of the products will be shown on Weibo right after the products are uploaded. By clicking on them, buys will be directed to the corresponding Taobao pages.
Sina believes that the account linking feature will result in a ‘super account system’ which involves hundreds of millions of users. It also enables Weibo to attract new e-commerce users at a low cost. As the cooperation proceeds, Weibo would accumulate millions of data regarding Weibo users’ buying preference, which would help with Weibo’s Big Data development. By analysing users’ buying motives, Weibo can make e-commerce on social network more precisely-marketed and intelligent. However, it is just Alibaba’s first try at promoting e-commerce on social network after it grabbed 18% of Weibo with a $586 million investment. The two have not yet revealed any further details of the transaction.
Suspending WeChat to Advertise the Cooperation?
Alibaba and Sina’s cooperation in promoting e-commerce on social network is hardly surprising. What takes the market unawares is Taobao has confirmed it has suspended the use of WeChat on its e-commerce site a day before the announcement was made. As far as the reporter is aware, Taobao used to have several WeChat apps on the site which have brought to itself a considerable number of new sellers.
Alibaba confirmed last Thursday that they have suspended any WeChat-related third party apps. According to Alibaba, it is because “there is a faction of sellers using WeChat marketing app to harass and disturb users, in some cases even using the app to lead users outside of the Taobao payment process and putting consumer transactional security at risk’.
Tecent, another Chinese web giant who developed WeChat, has responded to this issue in an ‘ambiguous’ manner and said ‘WeChat is not a marketing tool but a public platform’. The suspension is a real let-down for those who were planning to start their business on WeChat.
Guanxiong Wang, an internet expert, believes that there will certainly be a commercial battle between Alibaba and Tencent. To advertise the launch of the Weibo-Taobao platform, Alibaba decided to suspend WeChat, just as it blocked the Chinese search engine giant Baidu several years ago.