With just one week left before this year’s November 11th Single’s Day mega-sale event, China’s top two e-commerce platforms are already at each other’s throats.

JD.com has filed a complaint with China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) claiming that Alibaba is attempting to bar merchants from participating on competing platforms during the upcoming sales, according JD.com’s official Weibo account.

While Alibaba was the original driver behind Single’s Day, it’s become a nationwide one-day-sale across most of China’s e-commerce platforms including JD.com. It’s also the country’s single biggest shopping event of the year, with Alibaba alone pulling in $9 billion USD worth of sales on the 11th of November 2014.

According to JD.com the SAIC has officially received their request, meaning they will take the matter further. Regulations from the same government body state that no e-commerce platform is able to stop merchants from participating on multiple platforms.

Both Alibaba and JD.com are running extensive promotional events leading up to the sale day. According to JD.com, Alibaba is forcing a handful of merchants to participate in Ali-exclusive promotions, though it’s not clear whether Alibaba is actually prohibiting merchants from participating in sales on JD.com and other e-commerce platforms.

While barring merchants from cross platform activity is prohibited by the state, platforms have employed various tactics in the past to ensure exclusivity. Tencent and Alibaba have leveraged WeChat shopfronts and Alipay respectively to make if difficult for micro-merchants to operate on multiple platforms, though these methods are ineffective for barring large merchants.

While Alibaba has returned better than expected growth in its Q3 earnings, some believe that the Single’s Day sale will be a better measure of how China’s consumer spending power has been affected by the economic slowdown this year.

Image Credit: Taobao.com sales day promotion

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com

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