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Alibaba to help Japan crack Chinese market

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says it has launched a service to help Japanese manufacturers crack the fast-growing Chinese market.

The Tokyo-based arm of Alibaba.com said the new service &#152 which uses Taobao, China’s largest retail website &#151 would help Japanese consumer goods makers cut through red tape.

“High-quality Japanese products are popular on the Taobao site, so we have been receiving requests from users to directly buy the products from Japanese firms,” said Taobao CEO, Jonathan Lu.

Alibaba.com Japan president Makoto Koyama said: “It is indispensable for Japanese firms to capitalise on brisk demand in China and other emerging economies to bring recovery to the Japanese economy.”

“It is clear to anyone’s eyes that Chinese and other emerging economies are growing while the Japanese market is stalling”, Koyama said, referring to the Japanese economy’s two decades of stagnation and sluggish growth. “Every developed country is looking to explore demand in emerging economies, but Japanese firms are still lagging behind.”

Referring to the complicated procedures for Japanese firms to obtain trade permission from Chinese authorities, Alibaba said it would cut the two-year waiting period by at least two-thirds.

To meet the specific needs of Chinese consumers, Alibaba said it would also offer warehouses, handle website management and customer support. A Japanese medicated shampoo maker is the first partner firm scheduled to start sales in January 2012.

The Chinese e-commerce market has rapidly grown to ¥6.6-trillion in 2010, said Alibaba.

Registered users to Taobao, owned by the Alibaba Group, stood at 370-million in January 2011, with daily transactions at ¥14 billion. – AFP