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Alibaba’s community group buy unit unveils WeChat mini app · TechNode


Alibaba launched a mini app for its community group buy platform on rival Tencent’s instant messaging platform WeChat on Friday, according to Chinese media reports, as China’s technology giants lower the walls of their respective ecosystems under pressure from regulators.

Why it matters: After parent company Alibaba Group was stung with a RMB 18.2 billion penalty for anti-competitive practices, the company’s business units are expanding traffic gateways amid competition from e-commerce companies like Pinduoduo and JD.com.

Details: The community group buy unit, Hema Market (our translation), does not yet have an independent app, according to a report by Chinese media outlet Ebrun. Its WeChat mini program comes with separate versions for customers and for community organizers.

  • The mini program offered various time-sensitive discounts and rewards to gain users, including flash sales, referral bonuses for customers and organizers, and lists of discounted products on the front page, according to the report. Certain promotions such as “red envelopes” in central China’s Henan province were location based.
  • Hema Market transactions can be completed entirely on the mini program, according to Ebrun.
  • A company spokeswoman declined to comment on Monday afternoon.

Context: Alibaba on April 2 unveiled a new MMC department headed by Dai Shan, an Alibaba Group partner, to manage its community group buy business. The department has since publicly released nearly 1,500 positions to be filled, a source told Ebrun.

  • Hema Market follows Alibaba-backed food delivery service Ele.me and logistics subsidiary Cainiao in launching WeChat mini apps.
  • Secondhand e-commerce platform Xianyu applied for a WeChat mini program on April 7, the most recent Alibaba-owned service to do so, according to TechWeb (in Chinese).
  • The head of Alibaba’s C2M department, Wang Hai, announced on March 25 that the company’s application for a Taobao Special Offer Edition mini program was pending review, and that the e-commerce giant hopes to collaborate with Tencent.
  • Community group buying is a platform-based grocery service which uses a network of organizers who sell products to their neighbors. By combining individual orders into bulk shipments, group-buy companies can offer customers lower prices. The red-hot but controversial model has gained traction particularly in China’s lower-tier cities.

Julia is an intern at TechNode. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked in the entertainment industry with Chinese writers and directors. Since then, she has researched the international impact…



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Written by Aakash Malu

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