Just two months ago Zeng Ming, chief strategy officer of Alibaba Group told Reuters he expected Alibaba Group, which includes Chinese online retail giant Taobao, to pass Amazon and Ebay in total sales volume this year. Now, a three day nation-wide sales campaign by rival qq.buy.com has generated over 210 million yuan ($33 million) in just two days.
Officially opened in March of this year, qq.buy.com, along with QQ Marketplace and Paipai, is part of Tencent QQ's attempt to capitalize on its 711.7 million active IM user accounts and compete with Alibaba Group in the online retail market.
The competition looks fierce, with Alibaba's Tmall – a platform for small sellers – reporting 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) in transactions last year, and QQ's current sales volume already exceeding by a wide margin the 82 million yuan ($13.1 million) a similar sales campaign generated earlier this year.
This stands in contrast to Amazon which reported $12.89 billion in net sales for the second quarter of this year. But comparing Tmall to Amazon is not exactly comparing apples to apples. Amazon only derives 40% of sales from third party sellers while Tmall makes up a larger part of Alibaba Group sales volume.
An International Data Corporation study valued total Chinese e-commerce at 780 billion yuan ($124.9 billion) in 2011 while Harvard Business School valued US e-commerce at $197 billion. Still with one more day to go the success of QQ's online sales campaign could indicate that in addition to buying the most cars and cognac, Chinese customers will soon spend more online than customers in any other country in the world.