Local media reported that Tencent this week would be holding an internal meeting featured around 300 merchants discussing its buy.qq.com, signaling that the company is considering opening up its B2C platform. Having received $1billion investment from Tencent, the e-commerce subsidiary of the penguin Kingdom is speeding up. A Tencent staff revealed that, user experience and logistics would be the unit’s main focus of future development.

A Well-selected Merchants Team

Instead of blindly expanding the scale, Buy.qq.com, the B2C platform of Tencent, was serious and cautious in selecting partners. The platform has strict requirements of the boarding members on fronts like service, scale and products quality. “We selected out 300 merchants for the first batch that got on board, and later on we will invite more and by year’s end possibly 1000 will have joined,” said Wu Haiquan, senior operation director of QQBuy, the platform.

Merchants who’ll attend the meeting are all popular brands online or offline, e.g. Handuyishe, Goelia, Nike and Lining, making up a well-selected B2C merchants team. Those star merchants have already proved their sales scale and service on platforms like Taobao and 360buy. It is estimated that they altogether have generated over RMB 57billion in revenues in 2011. Asked about the reason why Tencent bother to select and then invite merchants one by one, Wu said that it wanted to make sure the stability of the platform in the preliminary stage. In the second half Tencent will draft out detailed requirements for merchant so they can apply on their own.

To attract quality merchants, QQBuy will offer them with free ad placements and marketing resources, plus RMB 50million to aid the first riders.

An Open Platform War that Last Long

Various B2C platforms opened up from last year on, including Dangdang, Suning, Amazon China and 360buy, to name a few. An industry insider said that the competition would eventually come down to Tencent and Taobao Mall, as others like Dangdang and Amazon China are still limited in their openness.

However, those will almost definitely keep opening up to attract more merchants to their platforms.

The industry insider also noted that “Open B2C platforms can level up the whole industry. With Tencent’s traffic advantage and user base, merchants can save a lot of marketing costs. Thus the rough price war can evolve into a service war, which is good thing for every parties involved.”

Social Shopping is also included in Tencent’s future strategy, staff told that it was still new and needed more exploring. “But we are now trying to utilize the traffic of Tencent’s community for the benefits of our B2C service.”

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at) technode.com

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