SAN FRANCISCO Several of the largest U.S. retailers warned that Alibaba Group Holding Inc may "decimate" local companies unless Congress closes tax loopholes for online retailers, singling out the Chinese company before it has even established a major American consumer presence.
In TV and radio ads over the weekend, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, which includes Best Buy, Target, JC Penney and other major chains, called on Congress to end special tax treatment for Alibaba and other online giants.
"Main Street will never look the same," it said.
The ad marks one of the biggest public marketing campaigns against a Chinese company that handles more e-commerce than Amazon and eBay combined, even though Alibaba only surfaced in the American consciousness after it went public in the world's largest-ever IPO in September.
U.S. retailers and industry analysts expect Alibaba to soon launch a service targeted at American consumers, armed with its IPO war chest.
However, the company has said it remains primarily focused on the Chinese market, from which it already gets most of its revenue. The company says increasing wealth and online penetration will ensure its home market remains the prime driver of growth in coming years.
Alibaba presently sells to American consumers through its global retail service AliExpress. But its core Taobao service, often likened to eBay's marketplace, is not yet available to U.S. customers in English.
Alibaba representatives in the United States did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Edwin Chan)