China's e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched a service to help Japanese manufacturers crack into the fast-growing Chinese market, the group's Japanese unit said Tuesday.
Tokyo-based Alibaba.com Japan Co. said the new service, which uses China's largest retail website, Taobao, can help Japanese consumer goods makers cut through red tape and save time and money.
"High-quality Japanese products are popular on the Taobao site, so we have been receiving requests from users to directly buy the products from Japanese firms," Taobao CEO Jonathan Lu said in a statement.
Alibaba.com Japan president Makoto Koyama told a news conference: "It is indispensable for Japanese firms to capitalise on brisk demand in China and other emerging economies in order to bring recovery to the Japanese economy."
"It is clear to anyone's eyes that Chinese and other emerging economies are growing while the Japanese market is stalling," Koyama said, referring to ageing Japan's two decades of sluggish growth.
"Every developed country is looking to explore demand in emerging economies, but Japanese firms are still lagging behind."
Alibaba said it will take charge of the complicated procedures for obtaining trade permission from Chinese authorities and cut by two-thirds the two-year waiting period Japanese firms must presently wait.
Alibaba said it will also offer warehouses and handle website management and customer support to meet the specific needs of Chinese consumers.
A Japanese medicated shampoo maker is the first partner firm scheduled to start sales in January 2012, the company said at the launch of the service.
The Chinese e-commerce market has rapidly grown to 6.6 trillion yen ($82 billion) in 2010, said Alibaba.
Registered users to Taobao, owned by the Alibaba Group, stood at 370 million as of January 2011, with daily transactions at 14 billion yen.