Alibaba Helps State-Owned Oil Giant Sinopec Launch Their Own E-Commerce Site

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China’s ‘Internet Plus’ initiative for state-owned enterprises reached a new milestone on Monday with the launch of epec.com (易派客), a SC2B (supply chain to business) e-commerce platform by Alibaba Cloud and Sinopec, one of the major state-owned oil giants in China, for products in the petrochemicals sector.

Epec.com is very similar to Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C e-commerce platform, except that it specializes in mud pumps, sucker rods, and other oil and gas-related goods. In order to register for an epec.com account, users must verify that they belong to a company by entering information like the company’s tax and business license registration numbers.

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A hydrogenation reactor on epec.com

“Public cloud services, such as Alibaba Cloud, greatly reduce the cost of investment, operation and maintenance,” stated Zhigang Wang, General Manager of epec.com, in Alibaba Cloud’s press release. “In the future, the architecture of this new cloud platform will enable us to quickly expand to do fuel oil, chemical products and CRM [customer relationship management] without duplication of efforts.”

In collaboration with Sinopec, Alibaba Cloud helped build the order center, user center, payment center, and goods center for epec.com. After piloting epec.com for a year before its launch, the oil giant claims that the platform has recorded a total transaction value of 13.7 billion RMB (about $2.1 billion USD).

“Epec.com is the result of the successful technology cooperation between Alibaba Cloud and Sinopec, showcasing ‘Internet Plus’ strategy in China,” stated Simon Hu, the President of Alibaba Cloud, in the company’s press release.

Chinese tech giants have embraced the Chinese government’s long-term goal to streamline government services through disruptive technology, such as cloud computing and big data. In 2015, Tencent also partnered with Sinopec, enabling Sinopec customers to pay for fuel through WeChat. In March, Alibaba announced a partnership with another state-owned oil company, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), that encompassed a wide range of projects including internet payment and finance, cloud computing, logistics, and more.

In addition to the oil and gas industry, Chinese tech companies have jumped on other traditional industries, such as banking, healthcare, and agriculture. Last year, both Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, and Tencent launched their own private banks, MYBank and WeBank, respectively.

Image credit: Alibaba Cloud