Alibaba shuts down its Tmall marketplace in Hong Kong, focusing on improving cross-border e-commerce
Alibaba has decided to end Tmall Hong Kong on October 31 as a result of a shift in business strategy.
The “Tmall Hong Kong” mobile app released a notification on Friday stating that consumers may still place purchases until August 21, and the latest delivery date is August 26.
Users in Hong Kong will no longer have access to Tmall, but they will still be able to shop on Taobao. “We will focus on serving Hong Kong customers via Taobao, and we will strive to improve logistics, operations, and customer service, as well as enhance the shopping experience,” said the notification.
Launched in May 2021, Tmall Hong Kong mainly focuses on bringing in local brands and sellers to provide Hong Kong users with cosmetics, electrical appliances, produce, and other goods. It creates a commercial synergy with Taobao Hong Kong site, which is primarily involved in cross-border e-commerce.
However, in the competition with the local major player HKTVmall, Tmall Hong Kong is much inferior. Rolled out in 2015, HKTVmall, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HKTV, has established a reliable logistics and fulfillment service that ensures on-time delivery. Alibaba-owned businesses have less control over their operations due to their reliance on third-party couriers, and therefore cannot ensure orders are fulfilled on time.
Also, HKTVmall is more user-friendly than Tmall Hong Kong because it is rooted in the financial hub and understands local users better.
However, the closure of Tmall Hong Kong does not mean that Alibaba has given up on the Hong Kong market; rather, it shows that the company has decided to focus on selling mainland goods to the special administrative region.
Unlike Tmall Hong Kong, Taobao Hong Kong site mainly provides fast-moving consumer goods, consumer electronics, accessories, etc. In June this year, Taobao piloted self-operated express delivery services in Hong Kong, enabling orders to be delivered within two days at the earliest.
Tmall Hong Kong will refund deposits and annual fees to local merchants. Meanwhile, no layoffs are planned because the same crew oversees both the Tmall Hong Kong and Taobao Hong Kong sites.