Sina, Jingdong Mall in new e-commerce moves - south china morning post blogs 27 mar:
We're seeing some interesting moves today on the dynamic e-commerce front, with new signals that Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) intends to make a serious play into the space using its popular Weibo microblogging service as its primary platform. At the same time, the industry's second largest player Jingdong Mall is throwing out a new challenge by preparing to enter the B2B space now dominated by industry leader Alibaba.
All of this underscores just how rapidly the e-commerce space is evolving, as companies realise just how important the business will be to China's fast-changing retail landscape. E-commerce sales have exploded in China over the last few years, with B2C sales rising 80 per cent in the first half of last year alone. At that rate, China's B2C business was on track to reach 430 billion yuan (US$68 billion) last year, and should easily pass the 1 trillion yuan mark in the next two years.
Let's look first at Sina, which is desperately trying to find ways to make money from its wildly popular Weibo microblogging service that now has some 500 million registered users. According to the latest media reports, Sina is developing a new platform for e-commerce advertisers called Xiaoxi Tong. The product, whose name translates to "Information Connect", is now in beta testing, and will allow e-commerce firms to send private messages to their Weibo followers.
This move is just the latest in the e-commerce space by Sina, which has also recently launched an e-payments service and is setting up a platform that will the millions of Weibo users to buy goods from e-commerce companies. The recent e-commerce push follows the collapse of talks last fall that would have seen Alibaba buy a stake in Weibo as part of a strategic tie-up with Sina.
That tie-up would have presumably let Alibaba become Sina's e-commerce partner; but this latest series of Sina initiatives indicates it now wants to develop e-commerce by itself. I personally like this new Xiaoxi Tong service, as it combine