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Taobao clicks in sales of US$159b

By Ding Yining (Shanghai Daily)

10:50, December 04, 2012

CHINA'S largest e-commerce group yesterday reported record transactions of 1 trillion yuan (US$159 billion) in the first 11 months of this year, or equivalent to 5.4 percent of the country's total retail sales last year. said its consumer-to-consumer site achieved 800 billion yuan of sales and the business-to-consumer arm Tmall generated around 200 billion yuan. The total figure nearly doubled that of the whole of 2011.

Zeng Ming, Alibaba's chief strategy officer, credited the record sales to "standing on the shoulders of 6 million vendors, tens of thousands of online services staff and countless courier deliverers."

Shanghai buyers contributed 7 percent of the 1 trillion yuan sales, smaller than what residents in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces spent.

A younger generation of shoppers aged between 25 and 35 contributed 59 percent of this year's record sales but the company predicted that future growth is set to come from a wider consumer group.

Hangzhou-based Alibaba said it hopes to have more than 1 million vendors with annual sales topping 1 million yuan by the end of 2014. It will also encourage vendors to develop distinct characteristics and offer products that can't be found anywhere else, expecting a more diversified portfolio of sellers to drive spending from consumer groups that are still not accustomed to online shopping.

Alibaba also targets annual sales of 3 trillion yuan in as early as five years as more vendors flock to the platform.

Boston Consulting Group said in a research report last year that China is expected to overtake the US to become the world's biggest e-commerce market in 2015 because of Chinese consumers' enthusiasm to seek bargains.

The number of Alibaba's users has grown to more than 600 million since its founding in 2003, when it achieved only 20 million yuan transaction volume.

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