23 Nov 2009 12:02

Taobao, Lenovo Mobile partner on e-commerce handset

Shanghai. November 23. INTERFAX-CHINA - Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce platform Taobao will launch a 2G handset in partnership with Lenovo Mobile in early December, a Lenovo Mobile employee told Interfax on Nov. 23.

"Lenovo Mobile/Taobao handset will be integrated with a number of Taobao e-commerce functions, including Taobao's Wanwgwang instant messenger (IM) software and parent company Alibaba's online payment platform, Alipay," Wang Yan, Lenovo Mobile's brand communication manager, said.

Wang says that the target consumer base for the handset is Taobao's existing user base of 163 million.

"We are shifting our focus to 3G handsets in 2010 - we plan to launch more 3G handsets in 2010. Lenovo will launch an O2 advanced OPhone in partnership with China Mobile in April or May 2010," Wang said.

A Taobao employee, who requested to remain anonymous, told Interfax on Nov. 23 that Taobao is currently negotiating distribution plans with China Telecom.

Taobao entered the mobile Internet business last year in an attempt to capitalize on the steadily growing Chinese mobile Internet industry. It has so far launched a wireless application protocol (WAP) site and a mobile IM service for Taobao users and invested in the mobile Internet browser developer, UC Mobile Ltd.

According to the latest figures released by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), there were 192 million mobile Internet users in China as of Oct. 31.