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Alibaba exec confirms exploration of direct sales model, but no plans to replace Tmall

Alibaba is not going to rebrand its B2C marketplace Tmall to Maoxiang, an anonymous executive at the company’s digital business unit told local media outlet Guancha on Saturday. The source partially confirmed a prior rumor that Alibaba is working on Maoxiang, a new online direct sales service adopting a model similar to rival JD’s, but says Maoxiang is just an “exploration project” within Tmall app. Different from Alibaba’s typical “platform” model, the direct sales model requires online marketplace operators to sell their branded merchandise directly to customers, with more control over sourcing, quality, storage and delivery. [Guancha, in Chinese]