Jack Ma, founder, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group once said that “buying stuff from elsewhere then reselling them online is a stupid business model”, well, how about buying from your competitor rather than channels and then reselling online?

Unbelievable yet might be the sure thing at least to Gong Wenxian, VP of etailer 360hqb.com, who broke the news to local media that Suning.com purchased books from Dangdang.com, another Chinese online general store to build up its own book inventory.

Suning went online its book business in last November with a grand and generous campaign of “Free books in 72 hours” – basically all the book-related payments would be refunded as virtual balance in every shopper’s Suning account that could be used to buy other items from the B2C service, and they can keep the books. The eyes-grabbing campaign was a hit then and made to the headlines of a vast majority of local publications.

According to Gong, who is also a long-time Chinese ecommerce observer and tipster, Suning’s book promotion was backed up by Dangdang, “Actually (Suning’s) books were provided by Dangdang. The strategic cooperation between the two was aiming to compete with 360buy.com”, he said.

Neither Dangdang nor Suning confirmed the claim. Dangdang said there’s no official partnership between them but could not rule out the possibility that Suning made orders from Dangdang.com directly and then resold them through its own website while Suning rebuffed Gong’s speculation saying all the books were provided by Chinese publishing houses.