Taobao, Alibaba's online consumer website, expects its transaction volume to surpass 100 billion yuan (14.4 billion U.S. dollars) in 2008, a 130 percent increase from the previous year, according to Liang Chunxiao, Alibaba's vice president.
Speaking at a forum in Hangzhou, capital of east Zhejiang Province. Liang said with the rapid growth in China's e-commerce market, Taobao's customer base had soared in the first quarter, reaching 62 million from 53 million in 2007. Its transaction volume in the first three months hit 18.8 billion yuan, up 170 percent from the same period a year earlier.
"Taobao's transaction volume has grown for four years and reached 43.3 billion yuan in 2007, an outcome that took supermarket retailers like Wal-Mart almost three decades."
In total, 55 million domestic Internet users shopped online last year, spending 59.4 billion yuan, according to the Beijing-based China Internet Research Center.
Taobao is one of seven unlisted arms under the Hong Kong-listed Alibaba.com that was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma in Hangzhou. Its shares rose 122 percent on their trading debut in November.
Alibaba dominates the business-to-business segment in the country. Its consumer arms also include the online payment units Alipay and Yahoo China.
Taobao.com had maintained its leading position in the online shopping market last year and in the first quarter.
(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2008)