After being accused of starting another price war, 360buy is adding support for online games recharge in its latest effort to expand business line and grow its market share.
In search of new profit opportunity
The newly released function was featured on the right side of its homepage, supporting major titles home-made by or licensed to Chinese game developers/operators, including Fantasy Westward Journey and Westward Journey Online II by Netease, Fantasy Zhu Xian by Perfect World, JianXiaQingYuan Online and Jianxia World by Kingsoft, AION by Shanda among many other popular ones available in China online game market.
According to a survey released on last year’s China Game Industry annual conference, by the end of 2010, there were more than 43 million paid online gamers among a total number of over 75 million online gamers in China. China game industry’s 2010 sales revenue totaling RMB 32.37 billion (US$ 4.95 billion). It’s a huge market for everyone related or remotely related to the business, be it game curators, third party billing service providers or ecommerce sites like 360buy who tap into new area in search of extra profit opportunity.
Taobao has been providing such service for a while.
Attracting more female customers
Few days before releasing the recharging feature, 360buy relaunched female-focused B2C vertical QianXun, which was funded by SK Telecom before being acquired by the online retail giant in March 2010 with US$5mn.
Qianxun targeted female consumers with inventories covering women’s clothing, underwear, sportswear and accessories, etc. It featured brands like GIORDANO, BELLE and Nike for instance.
I believe that 360buy relaunched the site in hopes of attracting more female customers. 360buy started as vertical 3C online retailer, on which major buying power are men rather than women, before its transition into online general store. According to 360buy CEO Mr. Liu Qiangdong, male consumers currently account for majority of of its overall customers. Apparently, 360buy is anxious about women becoming main force of online shopping.
There’re several women-focused vertical B2C site raised tens of millions in their Serial A funding upon recently, including Mr. Xu Yirong’s Meilishuo, JuMeiYouPin, Miqi and Tiantian, signals the trends of women dominating online buying power and upcoming of more women-centered verticals.
Tiantian is a female-centered cosmetics B2C site, which just raised tens of millions RMB in its latest round of funding from SAIF Partners according to people familiar with the matter. JuMeiYouPin and MiQi are both vertical groupbuying sites focus on female cosmetics. On the other hand, Meilishuo focuses on social commerce, users (mostly female) share their online shopping experiences, post pictures of what they got onto the site. Meilishuo’s founder Xu Yirong co-founded Zhuaxia in late 2005, a popular online RSS reader that was sold toDouban in May 2010, before he moved into the e-commerce arena.
With price cuts, new phone cards and female segment, is 360buy doing too much, in too little time?