Taobao, China’s smash-hit ecommerce marketplace run by Alibaba, will get an international version in English and other languages, said company founder and chairman Jack Ma today.
Ma’s remarks came during a speech at the World Internet Conference and were reported by Reuters.
Taobao is a little like Ebay in that it involves person-to-person selling, but many of its merchants are small businesses selling new goods, in contrast for the tendency of Ebay to be full of random people selling secondhand stuff.
Alibaba already has a global marketplace called AliExpress, but that’s mostly for Chinese merchants to ship wholesale to overseas buyers.
In September, Taobao launched a regional version for Southeast Asia, with translation available for a few major languages there including English. But the translated version only applies to links and navigational elements, not the actual product listings. Taobao uses the International Parcel Forwarding Service (IPFS) to send goods to overseas buyers. Shortly after launching there, 280,000 customers signed up in Singapore, and another 210,000 in Malaysia.
Ma didn’t give a timeline or any further details about the international marketplace.
See: Crikey! Alibaba extends Taobao and Alipay to Australian merchants