Chinese auction site Taobao.com more than doubled its
transactions last year to 43.3 billion yuan (US$5.93 billion),
which was more than Carrefour SA's revenue in the nation.
A growing Web population and the increasing buying power of
netizens boosted trading volume on Taobao, mostly
consumer-to-consumer deals, by 156 percent, a growth rate that was
higher than the overall jump of 90.4 percent in China's online
shopping, the firm said in a statement.
By contrast, Carrefour, Europe's biggest retailer, generated
24.8 billion yuan of sales in China last year, the statement said,
citing figures from the Ministry of Commerce.
Carrefour is the most successful overseas retailer in China so
far by sales. Last year's sales figure for Wal-Mart in China hit 15
The surging volume came as users at Taobao grew 76.7 percent
last year to 53 million, while their average spending jumped 45
percent to 817 yuan last year. The most popular merchandise were
clothes, mobile phone, cosmetics and other daily necessities.
Taobao, based in Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang Province, has a
more than 70 percent market share in online shopping, according to
a joint survey by Taobao and iResearch, a Shanghai-based IT
However, the company, a subsidiary of China's largest e-commerce
portal Alibaba.com Corp, hasn't turned profitable yet as it doesn't
impose any fee on individual sellers and buyers, a strategy that
helped it beat eBay Inc in China. eBay was forced to hand over
control of its Chinese auction site to a local partner in December
Currently, Taobao focuses on an online platform eligible only to
major domestic and overseas consumer product makers and retailers
to sell directly to Chinese buyers. The firm will charge five
percent of the transaction value.
(Shanghai Daily January 23, 2008)