Alibaba Matches Amazon, Raises Them a Drone
Amidst the controversy surrounding Amazon’s future drone delivery program, Alibaba went out and actually did what we’ve all been talking about – they released the drones. Alibaba announced on their corporate blog that they began a 3-day drone delivery test with limited access. To participate, consumers had to purchase one of 450 packets on ginger tea of their Taobao site (which was available on a first come, first serve basis), and live in specific areas of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The tea was delivered by drone within one-hour. Though Alibaba is still months and maybe years away from being able to offer a full service drone delivery program, the video is, admittedly, very cool. Read more.
Alibaba Pleads The Fifth
A report by the Chinese Government State Administration of Industry and Commerce accused Alibaba of not doing enough to keep fake, counterfeit and subpar items off of their Taobao marketplace. The government agency states that Alibaba had been made aware of these claims last summer, but agreed not to release these findings for fear of negatively impacting the ecommerce giant’s historic IPO. Alibaba vehemently denies these allegations that the report was brought to their attention last year. Regardless of whether or not Alibaba’s leadership team was aware, the root of the issue remains – it is surprisingly easy to find counterfeit goods on Taobao and sell them on notoriously regulated sites like Amazon, as one seller demonstrated in anonymous messages with the International Business Times. Read more.
Helping Buyers Get Loans and Chinese Goods
Alibaba and the Lending Club – a loans and investing firm that at once time defined peer-to-peer lending – are teaming up to form a controversial partnership. The goal of their partnership is to provide loans for American companies endeavoring to purchase products and parts from Chines manufacturers, and facilitate the buying process. Together, Alibaba and Lending Club aim to rewrite the procedure of business supply-chain buying for small and mid-sized businesses. The loans, called “Alibaba.com e-Credit Line, Powered by the Lending Club,” come at significantly lower interest rates than other lenders provide, with monthly interest rates starting at 0.5 percent. The timing of this partnership is controversial as it could be crucial in helping Alibaba offset claims that they don’t regulate their marketplace Taobao rigorously enough for counterfeits. Read more.
Alibaba’s Taobao may have a bad reputation with counterfeit goods right now, but its not fair to assume all of the marketplace sellers actively sell fraudulent or knock-off items. Would you still order goods from Taobao or Alibaba? Or are you waiting for better regulation policies? Let us know in the comments.