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Tmall changes its name for better positioning

By Yu Xi (Global Times)

08:59, January 12, 2012

China’s business-to-consumer shopping platform Taobao Mall officially changed its name to Tian Mao yesterday with a view to create phonetic similarity between its English and Chinese names, as well as to establish a clearer positioning of the platform, according to a statement sent to the Global Times yesterday.

”We changed the name of Tmall into ‘Tian Mao’ (literally meaning celestrial cat) in order to reflect the characteristics of fashion, elegance and good quality,” Wang Shuai, chief marketing officer of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Tmall’s parent company, said in the statement.

”It’s Tmall’s long-term strategy to build a good quality, independent and fashionable platform,” Chen Shousong, an e-commerce analyst at consulting firm Analysys International, told the Global Times yesterday.

Chen said the name change shows Tmall’s attempt to create a more positive and active brand image, which may fit online consumers’ taste better.

Some market observers believe the name change may be related to Tmall’s future IPO plans, but Tmall spokesperson Yan Qiao denied such a link.

”The name change has no relationship with a future IPO, and also Tmall doesn’t want to separate the brand from Taobao,” Yan said.

Alibaba Group will go public as a whole, and its subsidiaries will not list separately, he noted.

Tmall said the trading volume in 2011 exceeded 100 billion yuan ($15.83 billion), 3.5 times higher than a year earlier.

Tmall accounted for 53.3 percent of the B2C market in 2011, while 360buy.com took up 17.2 percent, vancl.com 2.1 percent and dangdang.com 1.9 percent, according to data from consultancy iResearch yesterday.

”Tmall accounts for more than half of the B2C market, and the name change will not affect its sales because of its huge consumer base,” Ding Jiaqi, an e-commerce analyst at iResearch told the Global Times yesterday.

Alibaba split China’s largest e-commerce website Taobao into three separate companies, product search engine eTao, B2C website Tmall, and C2C website Taobao.com in June last year.

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