Home electronics manufacturer Galanz has accused Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall of hiding its products from search results, saying its goods have “vanished into thin air.”
According to posts by Galanz on microblogging platform Weibo, the company’s inventory of 200,000 home appliances were not visible on the first page of Tmall’s search results ahead of the 618 shopping festival on Tuesday. Galanz blamed senior Tmall managers for neglecting “unusual” activity in the company’s search results, which Galanz said began on Monday afternoon.
Tmall was not immediately available for comment when reached by TechNode.
Alibaba began asking shop owners to choose between Tmall or rival e-commerce platform JD as far back as 2012. JD was Alibaba’s biggest competitor before Pinduoduo went public in 2018. Galanz said in a statement on Wednesday that Tmall requested the company remove its listings from Pinduoduo in May, but it rejected the plea.
Galanz claims that soon after denying Tmall’s request the company was blocked from the e-commerce platform’s 520 shopping promotions on May 20 and a group buying channel on Tmall. Galanz also signed a long-term partnership with Pinduoduo during the same month.
According to Galanz’s statement, Tmall has also used “technical interference” to limit access to six popular stores that sell its products on the platform.
TechNode searched “microwave,” one of Galanz’s popular products, on Tmall on Wednesday morning. The first three pages of search results didn’t include any products from the six shops listed on Galanz’s statement. When searching “Galanz,” the company’s official store showed up at the top of the results, but products from the six shops didn’t show up until the third page.
According to China’s e-commerce law, e-commerce operators that dominate the market are prohibited from using their position to exclude or restrict competition by technical means or by exploiting the dependence of other businesses on their platforms, among others. The law regulates e-commerce giants from undermining competition through monopolistic practices.