Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. continues to tick off the rest of the retail industry.
JD.com, China’s second-largest e-tailer and Alibaba’s biggest homegrown rival, on Tuesday sent a letter to the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) to complain that the company was “disrupting the market order” by telling retailers to deal exclusively with one site only during next week’s online shopping festival, Singles’ Day.
According to the statement, Alibaba “conveyed a message to retailers” that if they took part in its Tmall promotion campaign on November 11, they could not participate in “similar events held by rival sites,” China Daily reported.
Alibaba threatened that sellers that refuse to comply will receive less traffic on Singles’ Day (also called Double 11), the world’s biggest online shopping day of the year, JD.com claimed, adding that “such behavior poses barriers to market competition and severely undermines consumers’ interests.”
It could also hurt JD.com’s chance to cash in on its own campaign, which kicks off on Monday. A survey of more than 1,000 internet users in China conducted this month by Nielsen found that 56 percent of respondents said they will spend more on the promotional day this year and the average expected spend per person is 1,761 yuan, or $277.76.
“It’s not a huge surprise that consumers are planning to spend more during this year’s Double 11,” Yan Xuan, president of Nielsen Greater China, said in a statement. “Income levels and internet penetration continue to rise throughout China, so this is a natural progression.”
Meanwhile, Alibaba isn’t sweating its rival’s accusations.
“Market-related problems should resort to the market for solution. We will continue offering consumers quality products at lower prices,” a company spokesperson said.
SAIC did not respond to China Daily’s request for comment.