Alibaba takes it to a whole new level

Updated: 2014-05-19 07:33

By Ed Zhang (China Daily)

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Alibaba's rating system has evolved completely outside the realm of government interference, and despite occasional problems has been working much more effectively than the credit systems that the government bureaucracies are supposed to build.

Alibaba takes it to a whole new level
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Indeed, up to now, there is no other place that ordinary citizens have an equal right to inquire about a supplier's past delivery records and client satisfaction level, to compare them with others', and to post open complaints with the expectation of receiving prompt replies, apologies and re-deliveries. Inadvertently, it provides shoppers with not just a convenient way to do business, but also a sense of democracy and self-management on an everyday level.

The merchant rating system allows so many people to keep doing business on the retail sites in such an impressive daily volume in a country whose offline markets are at times inundated by fake goods and shoddy products. To be sure, there are fake goods on Alibaba, and this needs to be addressed by perhaps an internal policing mechanism before such products are listed. But the problem is already less annoying than other parts of the economy - meaning that user-generated self-management already works better than lopsided government regulation.

China's Internet world and its online businesses are such a complex world that it offers people many different perspectives. Observers have pointed out that some of its largest investors are from overseas. Others have noted that e-commerce is redirecting more Chinese customers more quickly away from real-economy shops than in any other country.

One may also realize that, simply because of China's immense Internet population, for any large online business (not just Alibaba) to develop and sustain itself, it is important to create some new customer experiences.

The author is editor-at-large of China Daily.


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