China's Geely opens online car store on Taobao

SHANGHAI Mon Dec 6, 2010 4:43am EST

SHANGHAI Dec 6 (Reuters) - China's Geely Automobile Holdings (0175.HK) opened its first online store on Taobao on Monday, in hopes that rising e-commerce in the country will drive buyers to its showrooms.

Geely launched an online store for its Gleagle series on Taobao Mall (www.tmall.com), the store section of China's largest e-commerce website with a consumer focus. Geely will start selling its Gleagle Panda car model on Dec. 22 and will gradually expand to sell more models, Taobao said in a statement.

China is the largest Internet market by users and also the world's largest auto market.

The Gleagle store is also the first car dealership with a presence on Taobao.

Buyers will put down a deposit of 288 yuan ($43.23) and then visit a Gleagle showroom to test drive the car before confirming their purchase.

Geely also has plans to offer car models exclusively online, Taobao said.

Web commerce in China has surged as buyers tap the Internet for better deals from more suppliers in the nation's highly fragmented distribution networks.

Taobao, is owned by China's largest e-commerce group Alibaba Group, which is 40 percent owned by Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O). ($1=6.662 Yuan) (Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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