Business E-Commerce Global Tech

Tencent, eBay in Potent Partnership

After its first attempt to develop the China e-commerce market failed miserably nearly a decade ago, US Internet giant eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) is making some smarter moves this time around by choosing better partners and also by building up its business more gradually. In the company’s latest China development, media are reporting eBay has formed a new joint venture with Chinese Internet giant Tencent (HKEx: 700). At the same time, separate reports are saying that eBay may fail in its bid to become the first foreign licensee to offer electronic payment services in China.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

eBay’s Paypal: China Payment License in Sight

China’s regulators have never been known for moving fast on anything, and that case seems to apply even more when it comes to allowing foreign players into emerging markets like third-party payment services. More than two years after China began awarding licenses for its domestic companies to offer such, foreign companies are still waiting for equal rights in the lucrative domestic market. But now US e-commerce giant eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) is saying it could soon become the first foreign licensee to enter the market, providing both a big opportunity, but also a major challenge, as it seeks to catch up to Chinese rivals with more than a two-year head-start.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Google Rethinks China E-Commerce

Six months after abruptly shuttering its China-based e-commerce search business, global Internet titan Google is reportedly rethinking that decision with plans to re-enter the market. The decision looks like the latest acknowledgement by Google that China is simply too big to ignore, following its high profile shuttering of its China-based general search business in 2010 after a spat with Beijing over censorship. If this latest story is true, the next logical question might be whether we could see Google return to the general China search market, where competition is suddenly starting to heat up after years of dominance by market leader Baidu.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba’s Logistics Gamble: Difficulty Ahead

Say the word “logistics” in any conversation and you’ll almost inevitably put anyone listening to sleep. But the concept is hardly a boring one in China’s hyper-competitive e-commerce space, where industry leader Alibaba has just announced a massive 100 billion yuan ($16.3 billion) plan to build up its logistics network over the next few years. To me this plan looks like a direct response to similar recent moves by e-commerce names like Jingdong, Tencent, and Amazon, which are aggressively building logistics networks with an aim of reducing delivery times to two hours or less.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Qihoo, Alibaba Tie-Up Set For Turbulence

A sudden rush to form new partnerships on China’s Internet is creating some interesting new tie-ups, including the latest one that is seeing e-commerce leader Alibaba join with security software firm Qihoo 360 in the e-commerce search space. This new pair-up actually seems relatively minor, with Qihoo using Alibaba’s specialized eTao search engine to power e-commerce searches on Qihoo’s own so.com general search site. This kind of tie-up isn’t all that uncommon in search, where portals and other companies that want to include a search function on their home page often license a third party’s engine like Google’s or Baidu’s for the job.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Tencent, Walmart Heat up China E-Commerce

New moves from Internet giant Tencent and global retailer Walmart are turning up the competition in China’s e-commerce wars, which are quickly becoming a contest to see who can outspend whom. Both of these latest initiatives look quite pricey, especially Tencent’s move that will see it roll out an ultra-fast product delivery program. WalMart, meantime, is pouring big money into a campaign to build a new in-house clothing brand for its recently acquired Yihaodian online store. The current trends are a bit worrisome, as they indicate no near-term easing in China’s e-commerce price wars that have raged for about two years now.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba Mobile Drive Leads to Autonavi

Less than two weeks after buying a major stake in leading Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, e-commerce leader Alibaba is back on the acquisition track with word that it’s on the cusp of another deal to buy a similar strategic stake in mapping services firm AutoNavi. While this newest deal would be a bit smaller than the Weibo tie-up, it marks the latest transaction in a nascent M&A wave among China tech firms that looks set to gain momentum during the rest of the year.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba Tamps Down Valuation Expectations

Having let the markets get pumped up with huge expectations for its upcoming mega IPO, e-commerce leader Alibaba now appears to be trying to temper some of those high hopes in the run-up to an offering that is likely to be the biggest ever for a Chinese Internet firm. The reason for the sudden change of tone? Apparently the company wants to avoid following in the footsteps of social networking giant Facebook, whose IPO was so overhyped by the time it finally occurred that it was almost bound to result in failure and major disappointment.   More

Business E-Commerce Startup Culture

Startup Creativity Flourishes at NY Tech Day

There seems no limit to the business ideas the Internet can spawn. More than 400 tech startups, most of them dot-coms and 75% New York-based, exhibited at NY Tech Day on April 25. Some presented pre-launch concepts; others, more established, were there seeking investors, recruiting employees, and hatching partnerships. Concepts included the countercultural (InkedMatch.com, online matchmaking for tattoo lovers), the controversial (Parlor, enabling phone conversations between like-minded strangers), and the socially purposeful (Audicus.com, high-quality hearing aids sold at steep discounts to a market that includes earbud-damaged 20-somethings).   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

New Smartphone Moves From Alibaba, China Mobile

We’re seeing some interesting new moves in the smartphone space from e-commerce leader Alibaba and dominant carrier China Mobile, as each makes big new bets in the fast-evolving area. Alibaba is launching its mobile operating system on a new series of smartphones with several Chinese partners, following a similar aborted attempt last year. China Mobile, meanwhile, is planning a major overhaul for its popular but rapidly aging Fetion mobile messaging service, in an attempt to compete with newer, more popular third-party apps like Tencent’s WeChat.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech Opinion

Alibaba Dips Toe in Developing Markets

Finally there are some interesting news bits on e-commerce leader Alibaba that don’t involve its highly anticipated IPO, including a push into developing markets and a new tie-up with global payments giant MasterCard. Of the two bits, the former is more intriguing because it represents a major move for the company outside the Chinese-speaking world for its highly successful consumer-oriented e-commerce services. The latter tie-up is interesting because it involves a big name like MasterCard, even though actual details are scarce and probably won’t get worked out until some point in the future.   More

Techonomy 12 E-Commerce Techonomy Events Video

Shopping Outside the Box: Data and Dollars

Mobile, responsive, and proactive—how will data and new ways to spend money transform commerce and retail? PayPal's James Barrese, Dan Schulman of American Express, Walmart's Gibu Thomas, and Erick Schonfeld of DEMO gather at Techonomy 2012 in Tucson, Ariz., to discuss.   More

Techonomy 12 E-Commerce Techonomy Events Video

Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy

Arun Sundararajan, professor and NEC Faculty Fellow at New York University’s Stern School of Business, speaks at Techonomy 2012 in Tucson, Ariz.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech Opinion

Regulation Could Mean E-Commerce Slowdown in China

China's unruly e-commerce sector could be set for some big changes in the year ahead, with executives from both inside and outside the industry calling for moves to bring order to an unruly space that has been plagued by cutthroat competition. Perhaps most significantly, a top executive from the traditional retailing sector is calling for e-commerce firms to pay more taxes, a move that could make online purchasing more expensive and less attractive to cost-conscious consumers. Other executives are calling for tighter regulation of the sector, which has evolved into a free-for-all due too much investment and lack of government oversight.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Western Brands Try E-Commerce Road to China

U.S. apparel maker Cherokee made a strategic gamble last week when it largely circumvented China’s traditional retail store network and opened a shop on the Internet, highlighting an emerging new path for mid-sized foreign brands into the lucrative sector. Unlike real-world shops, online stores are much cheaper to set up and also target an e-commerce market set to become the world’s largest over the next decade.   More

Business E-Commerce

Amazon Pushes E-tailers to Deliver Instant Gratification

Retailers big and small are trying to chip away at Amazon's growing competitive edge, in some cases even if it cuts into their own profits. A number of stores and e-commerce sites now offer same-day delivery as a way to ward off Amazon's incursion into the realm of immediate gratification—one of the few remaining advantages of brick-and-mortar shopping. With Amazon hinting at expanded same-day shipping services, small companies like Shoptiques, along with bigger fish like Walmart, Macy's, and Target, are exploring ways to offer same- or next-day delivery to their online customers.   More

Business E-Commerce

E-tailers Oblige Customers Who Want to Handle the Merchandise

E-commerce stalwarts are beginning to see the virtues of opening brick-and-mortar retail stores. Andy Dunn, CEO of formerly online-only apparel company Bonobos, told The New York Times that he was losing about half of his would-be customers because they wanted to touch the merchandise before making a purchase. So in 2012 his company opened six retail stores, where the average transaction is double the average online transaction, according to Dunn. Piperlime, Gap's online spinoff, and Warby Parker, an eyeglass company, are opening stores too, and EBay and Etsy are trying out temporary stores. These retailers are not abandoning lessons learned through their online operations: they tend to carry less inventory and employ fewer staff members, treating their new locations more like showrooms than traditional retail outlets.   More

E-Commerce Techonomy Events

Maelle Gavet of Ozon.ru on How ‘Offline’ Ideas Can Help Business

Ozon.ru is Russia's biggest online retailer, but its business is built on an offline foundation. In this video from Techonomy 2011 in Tucson, Ariz., Ozon.ru CEO Maelle Gavet discusses how cultural quirks unique to Russia require offline, person-to-person customer service to drive online commerce. Gavet has succeded in building Ozon's brand by embracing robust offline systems.   More