Chinese online auction website Taobao.com plans to move its online shopping service to real bricks-and-mortar shopping malls.
Taobao announced this week that it will allow its partners to set up Taobao Shopping Malls in traditional shopping venues. The first Taobao Shopping Mall has been opened in Shanghai and another eleven are scheduled to open by the end of this year.
Taobao will expand the shopping service to Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzhen in the coming years. Though it is doing so to increase its market influence, a company representative says it does not plan to enter the department store sector.
Compared with traditional shopping malls, the offline version of Taobao's online shopping will be covered with a wireless network where consumers can not only see real goods, but also buy those goods online. In addition to the hardware, Taobao also plans to organize periodic training on how to open an online store in an effort to encourage users to open stores on its website.