Here at Export Now, you have probably noticed three terms we’ve been using a lot: Alibaba, Taobao, and TMall.
To the outside observer, it might seem like the three are pretty interchangeable but rest assured, they mean three very different things. As a future exporter, it’s important that you understand the difference between these platforms.
Alibaba is both the name of one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, as well as the name of a service it offers. Think of it this way: Ebay is both a company, and an e-commerce platform. Ebay Inc. owns and operates numerous online services, one of which is Ebay.com, the C2C e-commerce platform. The Alibaba Group is the corporation that runs numerous e-commerce platforms including Alibaba.com, Taobao Marketplace, and TMall. Alibaba.com is essentially one of the world’s largest B2B marketplaces online. They do international B2B as well as domestic B2B trading within China.
Taobao (or more formally, Taobao Marketplace) is like China’s version of Ebay.com, though with fewer auctions and more fixed-price sellers. It is the premier C2C online marketplace in China. Taobao Marketplace has over 50 million unique users every day, and is one of the most trafficked websites in the world with over 370 million registered users.
TMall (more formally, Taobao Mall) is Alibaba’s dedicated B2C platform. It is the most visited B2C online retail platform in China, and currently has over 40,000 merchants selling goods. Many larger American and European brands already have storefronts on Tmall, such as L’Oréal, Adidas, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Gap, Ray-Ban and Levi Jeans.
When you sign up with Export Now, we list your goods on a special section of TMall. Even though TMall is China’s largest B2C online retailer and technically separate from Taobao Marketplace or Alibaba.com, we still want to do as much as we can to make sure your potential consumers are finding your products. That’s why your goods will also show up for people browsing the C2C platform as well.
Whatever customer base you’re looking for, we’ve got it. To start exporting, email us at email@example.com.