SINGAPORE - Local e-commerce site ezbuy has addressed remarks made by the Alibaba Group, which earlier this month labelled its act of creating accounts to buy items from Taobao and reselling them as "scalping".
In a statement on Thursday (Dec 21), ezbuy said that it takes a serious view of "inaccurate claims" made by the Chinese company, which is the parent of Taobao.
ezbuy said that in the context of Chinese law, products offered by a "scalper" would have to be limited in nature or scarce, such as train or concert tickets.
A "scalper" would also manipulate the supply and demand of the market by stocking up on as many products as possible, as well as gain high profits from selling the products.
However, what it offers to customers are "normal commodities", such as clothes, shoes or accessories, ezbuy said. These are never short of supply, it added.
In addition, ezbuy's practice is to make purchases on Taobao only when customers have placed their orders, it said, and this does not control or manipulate the supply and demand in the market.
"Normally, orders from customers are very scattered and include a variety of different types of products. Hence, we do not benefit from Taobao's limited offers or utilise their vouchers or coupons, unless customers have given us instruction to do so," it said.
By offering shipping and agent fees that it has said are cost-effective, ezbuy added that it "does not gain any unjustified high profits through its daigou service".
Daigou is a Chinese term that refers to a third party acting as a channel to buy goods on behalf of a buyer, generally shipping from China to other countries.
"More importantly, customers always have the choice to buy directly from Taobao, or buy from ezbuy, unlike a 'scalper', who only offers limited or no other options to customers," ezbuy said.
In the statement, ezbuy also sought to clarify why it has more than 1,000 purchasing accounts on Taobao.
These had been blocked by Taobao, causing massive delays to purchases made on 11.11 - Singles Day - and sparking a conflict between the two that ended with ezbuy temporarily ceasing its buy-for-me services on Taobao.
ezbuy said that when it started facing issues to its existing purchasing accounts since Nov 4, "it had no other option but to engage additional purchasing agents" to help, which included several employees, their family and friends.
It had done so after multiple attempts to reach Taobao customer service officers failed, ezbuy said.
ezbuy added that in the past, it had only a few purchasing agent companies in China, and they hold accounts approved by Taobao to make purchases on its site.
In fact, Taobao had allowed the company to hold multiple accounts, and these accounts were in use for a few years without any issue, ezbuy said.
ezbuy's purchasing accounts numbered more than 1,000, as these include personal accounts of its employees and their families and friends. This does not violate Taobao's rules and regulations, ezbuy said.
The statement added: "If Taobao is accusing daigou businesses (of) scalping, does it mean Taobao disallows all forms of daigou businesses?"
On Dec 18, ezbuy told The Straits Times that it had temporarily stopped offering its buy-for-me services with Taobao until further notice.
ezbuy will continue running its buy-for-me services from other countries, such as Japan, South Korea and the United States, with the China services for Taobao rerouted to other sites, such as JD.com (Jing Dong) and Mogujie.
ezbuy also outlined its plans for 2018, saying that it aims to double the number of product offerings and bring more than 10,000 sellers on board.
This will add another three million products to the existing four million on its site, it said.