On September 26, Alibaba Group's B2C e-commerce site TMall announced requirements for merchants looking to join the site's soon to be launched international Channel, "TMall International." The regulations stipulate that merchants must maintain physical stores overseas in order to join the platform, with either brand store or authorized dealer store operation meeting this requirement. Childcare, health, apparel, shoes, and bag merchants will be granted priority enrollment status.
International merchants must submit an authentic goods guarantee plan, and merchandise pages must include Chinese language descriptions. Merchants are also required to offer Chinese language customer service through Alibaba's instant messaging platform Alitalk, as well as 72-hour shipping, and product return facilities in mainland China.
TMall International will collect an initial deposit of USD 25,000 from international merchants. Merchants are also required to pay a yearly fee based on the types of goods they sell: USD 5,000 for cosmetics, foodstuffs, health care products, and home appliance vendors, and USD 10,000 for furniture, apparel, shoes, bags, and jewelry vendors. TMall International will also collect a service fee of either 5% or 6% per transaction, depending on the product.
Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "TMall to Launch International Products Channel" MD 7/10/13 issue.