A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has revealed that Alibaba.com (1688.HK) has placed a bid to build the ministry's third-party foreign trade and business e-commerce platform.
According to the spokesperson, the Ministry of Commerce's Department of Information Technology and Department of Foreign Trade have jointly drafted requirements for candidate organizations who wish to bid on the platform. Candidates must have already obtained an internet value-added telecom service operating license, or have registered as a not-for-profit internet and information services provider. Candidates must have experience as online B2B trade intermediaries, rather than being direct B2C retailers. In addition, MOFCOM requires that candidates have the ability to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers, and close trade deals online. Finally, candidates must have the ability to gather and analyze market data.
In this round of bids, Alibaba.com's strongest competitors are MOFCOM's own China E-commerce Center and B2B e-commerce firm DHGate.
The spokesperson indicated that the winner of the contract will receive absolute financial and policy support from MOFCOM. The budget for the construction of the platform is RMB 40 bln. The winner of the bid will receive additional financial support through the end of 2015, and will also receive support from all provincial level e-commerce funds.