Taobao.com, China’s big consumer-to-consumer auction site will begin charging fees in October, Jack Ma, CEO of parent Alibaba.com acknowledged. He didn’t say exactly when, or exactly what fees would be charged.
Taobao grew to dominate the Chinese market with free-to-post listings. The effect that fees will have on its position won’t be made certain until the fee structures are in place.
Publicly traded Alibaba is 40-percent owned by Yahoo, although the Taobao subsidiary is privately held.
Taobao competes with EBay-owned Eachnet, which has charged nominal fees for several years.
Since it’s IPO in November, Alibaba has grown to become China’s leading Internet company, with a market cap estimated at $53 billion. But commenting on the world’s cooling economies, Ma told IDG News that “Alibaba should be prepared for winter. SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises that are Alibaba’s primary customers) should prepare for the winter.”
Ma said the company’s focus will be on domestic China trade for the next six to 12 months.