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Online shopping emperor's siege

By Huang Shaojie (Global Times)

09:07, October 14, 2011

A Taobao store owner from Qingdao, Shandong Province, browses her shop's website on Thursday. Taobao's B2C e-commerce website Tmall has received protests from tens of thousands of its retailers after it announced an up to tenfold hike in technical service fees. (Xinhua Photo)

In a showdown over a controversial fee rise, small online retailers have reportedly taken to the street outside e-commerce giant Taobao's Hangzhou headquarters, after launching attacks against larger businesses operating on an off-shoot site.

Participating in a campaign dubbed "Occupy Taobao," named after the wave of sit-in protests in Western cities, at least dozens of business owners rallied Wednesday outside the company's HQ, various media reports said, showing pictures of people waving banners that condemned the company's new fee policy.

However, Taobao denied the protests had even occurred, saying the pictures were from events that took place years ago.

The incident was triggered by a new rule issued by Taobao's B2C platform,, on Monday, which hiked annual fees for Tmall store owners from 6,000 yuan ($945) to between 30,000 yuan and 60,000 yuan, depending on the size of the business.

The new regulation also requires each Tmall store to deposit at least 50,000 yuan as funds to pay for customer compensation in cases of fraud or other consumer complaints.

Protestors said the new rule would force small- and medium-sized businesses out of Tmall and that Taobao did not inform them of the new regulation in time.

A large number of small retailers responded with a coordinated online attack against larger stores.

In a typical assault, a large number of Tmall shoppers placed a 24-hour-rush order on the same goods of a target store. When the store managed to deliver, the buyers would demand a refund, taking advantage of Tmall's 7-day return policy.

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Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

nBGvthWAvnWCYq at 2011-10-16182.16.244.*
Knowledge wants to be free, just like these aritcels!
qdOhAbRiMBYhdYzpfh at 2011-10-1550.57.42.*
Free info like this is an apple from the tree of knowdlege. Sinful?

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