Yao Jingbo, CEO of 58.com once revealed that the Chinese classified site would be making some transition and in the future it won’t be a just a classified service. The company’s latest moves signaled that 58.com might turn itself into an ecommerce infrastructure for local merchants.

Last week group buying service aggregator Qianpin.com partnered with 58’s in group-buying business. On the other hand, the “Flea Market” channel of 58 has introduced new services like payment guarantee and even courier service. What’s more, 58 has already invited companies like Ctrip, Kuxun and Juqi to operate on its premise. All these efforts implied an upcoming transition into an open e-commerce platform for 58.

Speaking of the changes, Yao said that the biggest challenge for Chinese classified sites is credibility because of fake postings. 58 wanted to make a difference by involving itself deeper into the payment process to protect consumers from trapped transactions with the introduction of an Alipay-like service. “When the problem of credibility is solved, 58 will grow into an open e-commerce platform for local life services. What it really means is to better serve the users with classified life services. Anyone who logs into 58 for life service information can directly buy the service online and then enjoy it offline in brick-and-mortar stores. ”

The second biggest challenge to Chinese classified sites, is that the business model of just selling users’ postings/information to local service providers is too simple. What 58 is trying and exploring on O2O and e-commerce platform is a natural step further. His outlook was like:

a) A good sales team that can strengthen the offline service;

b) The original classified site could be hands down turned into an O2O platform;

c) The accumulated traffic and user base can speed up the monetization.

“Users will gradually learn that they can also directly buying services from 58 instead of just looking up the information and then consume offline, and the online payment process should be reliable and controllable. ” Yao introduced that in the near term 58 will focus on ramping up consumer protection.

58 protecting users from trapped online transaction

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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