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Taobao should respond to vendors' requests: MOC

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14:21, October 16, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) urged Taobao Mall, a unit of Alibaba Group, to actively respond to the pertinent requests of small merchandisers who protested the website's membership fee hike.

The MOC is very concerned about the recent protests against Taobao Mall, the country's largest business-to-consumer e-commerce platform, and will try to defuse the conflict in order to stabilize prices and support small businesses, according to a statement posted on its website.

While Taobao Mall should listen to vendors, small business owners should express their requests through legal means, the MOC said.

Taobao Mall said on Monday it would increase its annual membership fees from 6,000 yuan (about 941 U.S. dollars) to between 30,000 yuan to 60,000 yuan, depending on the type and scale of the business.

The fees will be fully or partially returned to a shop if its scale and service quality meet specific targets, Taobao Mall said.

The fee hike would hardly affect larger businesses, but small shop owners may feel a financial pinch.

Thousands of small-scale Taobao Mall vendors started protesting online Tuesday night by buying up goods from bigger vendors and then asking for refunds or filing complaints in order to interrupt their businesses.

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