Hangzhou-based B2C e-commerce site Taobao Mall recently released a new fee structure for 2012 to support merchants partnered with the platform. Under the new policy, eligible merchants will be able to pay Taobao Mall's annual technical service fee in two separate installments, will see the total amount of fees reduced to either RMB 19,500 or RMB 12,000, and will have consumer protection deposits cut in half.
Merchants who joined the platform prior to October 11, 2011, and maintained a customer satisfaction score no lower than 4.6 points (with 5.0 the highest score possible) between January 1 and October 10, 2011, will be eligible for the new fee structure, as will merchants who submitted an application to join by no later than 6 PM on December 20 and paid both the annual technical services fee and contract violation deposit by no later than 6 PM on December 26, 2011.
From January 1 to September 30, 2012, merchants will continue to pay the technical service fee at the 2011 level of RMB 6,000 per year. During this time, Taobao Mall will also continue the policy from 2011 of refunding part or all of the technical service fee (paid prior to December 26, 2011, and to be reimbursed at 2011 levels in October 2012) if merchants reach specific targets for operational scale and service quality.
Between October 1 and December 31, 2012, the technical service fee will be raised to RMB 30,000 or RMB 60,000 depending on the service level required. It must be paid no later than September 2012 and will be reimbursed in January 2013 based on the 2012 fee, also dependent on merchants' ability to reach specific targets for operational scale and service quality.
Under the new fee structure, merchants in 2012 will pay a technical service fee of either RMB 12,000 (RMB 4,500 based on 9 months of service at 2011's fee of RMB 6,000 in addition to RMB 7,500, calculated based on 3 months (October-December 2012) of service at the new 2012 annual fee of RMB 30,000) or RMB 19,500 (factoring in 3 months of higher level service at the greater 2012 annual fee of RMB 60,000, or RMB 15,000, added to the RMB 4,500 levied at 2011's rate from January-September 2012).
Also in Taobao Mall's 2012 fee structure is a 50% reduction in consumer protection deposits for eligible merchants. For example, the deposit will be reduced from RMB 100,000 down to RMB 50,000 for flagship stores, franchise stores, or those stores which sell trademarked "TM" goods, and from RMB 50,000 to RMB 25,000 for merchants whose offline stores feature registered trademark (a circled "R") goods.