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Low Shipping Rates Drive Growth For China's Alibaba Group

July 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Very affordable overnight shipping rates in China have been a biggest factor driving growth for online retailer Alibaba Group Holding. Some of the growth should be credited to the company's Taobao online marketplace and the low prices of goods offered by its 10 million merchants. Alibaba has no direct hand in arranging shipping for Taobao merchants; each seller has to deal with one of the country's largest private courier companies. China's four largest shipping service providers are Shunfeng, or SF Express, and YTO Express, STO Express, and ZTO Express. On Taobao, a 3kg box of Tide washing detergent costs $3.13, or 20.90 yuan, including shipping. In contrast, the same product would cost at least $53 in the US, with at least $35 going to shipping.
Peter Fuhrman, "Cheap shipping hidden key in Alibaba's success", Nikkei , July 06, 2016, © Nikkei Inc.
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