Very soon, all the pinterest clones in China will have more than the Taobao products to capitalize on. Jindong Mall (aka 360buy), one of the largest online retailers in China, will open its platform in 2 months, said an industrial source. “Just like Taobao’s ‘Grand Taobao’ project, Jindong will have its ‘Grand Jindong’ project,” the source said.

Taobao affiliation program, a key component of Grand Taobao project, have been the backbone of all the pinterest-like social ecommerce services in China, such as Meilishuo, Mogujie and so on. Taobao (actually the small individual Taobao sellers) pays them commission when they help to sell Taobao products to their users. For example, Mogujie, one of the largest, fostered a monthly sales of over RMB 120 million (US$ 19 million) for Taobao with more than 3 million registered users and 1.2 million daily UV last year.

It makes people wonder what if Taobao decided to lower their commission or even not to support them anymore, especially, right now Taobao has its own pinterest-like services, called Taobao WOW. In fact, there is rumor that Jack Ma, CEO of Allibaba Group, told his staff in an internal meeting that, in the short term Taobao will support the pinterest clones, but in the long term it will squeeze them out, and replace them with Taobao’s own pinterest-like service.

However, if Jindong opens its platform, this is no longer an option of Taobao. This is because if Taobao ceases to support the pinterest clones, they might switch to promote Jindong’s products, a move Taobao cannot risk to happen.

With Jindong taking the lead, all major e-commerce players in China, such as Vancl, Dangdang might soon follow. In the future, opening your own e-commerce site will be very easy, as all the fulfillment and logistics are taking care of by the major e-commerce player. You just need to take care of the front-end, whether this is a website or a mobile app. I believe there will be a lot of such players, and the key of their success lies on how to attract and retain users.

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. ( She previously was the lead China technology reporter...

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