| SHANGHAI, March 30
SHANGHAI, March 30 It is a marriage made in
heaven for shopping addicts. Social shopping, the merger of
social networking and e-commerce which has hooked millions of
users in the United States, has now captured the attention of
China's Internet giant.
Alibaba Group's social shopping platform Fa Xian (),
launched on a testing basis four weeks ago, is already luring
60,000 viewers a day.
"Over the long run, social commerce in China has the
potential to be bigger than the United States," said Hans Tung,
managing director of venture capital firm Qiming Ventures.
Social shopping websites allow users to post photos of items
on virtual pin boards, which others can comment on. Some sites
allow users to purchase some of the items by clicking on the
The business model originated in the United States in the
mid 2000s when firms such as Kaboodle first set up shops. Others
have emerged since then, including Fab.com and most recently
In China, the home of world's largest Internet population
with nearly half a billion users, social shopping websites, such
as Mogujie, LinkChic and Xinxian, have been launched over the
Alibaba, 40 percent owned by Yahoo Inc, is looking
to incorporate these rivals into Fa Xian, which means discovery
in Chinese. Unlike other U.S. social shopping websites, all the
items on Fa Xian can be purchased through its two e-commerce
websites, Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace.
"We have about 10 partners right now. At the end of the
year, I hope to see if we can achieve 100 partners, because this
year China's social shopping industry is very hot," Chen Lijuan,
director at eTao, Alibaba's search unit that operates Fa Xian,
Fa Xian also plans to expand to include other e-commerce
vendors outside the Taobao ecosystem, such as Jingdong Mall.
Cao Xiaolei, a 30-year-old office worker who has been using
Mogujie since last July, said she can spend up to an hour
looking through the website for items she likes.
"The products on the website have been selected and that can
save me time and give me inspiration," she said.