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December 16, 2009

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Taobao launches custom phones

TAOBAO.COM, the B2C Website, yesterday launched three customized cell phones in collaboration with a telecommunication provider and handset makers to tap the e-commerce market.

The three models, provided by Lenovo Group, China Telecom Corp and TCL Corp, will be pre-installed with applications to allow customers to shop on Taobao and pay bills through Alipay, the online payment arm of the Alibaba Group.

The new phones will be available at the end of the year in retail stores as well as online stores on Taobao. Shop owners on Taobao will also be able to manage their business through the wireless applications in the phones. The phones will also include Alibaba's instant messenger, "Wang Wang," to allow real time communication between buyers and shop owners.

"Wireless e-commerce will provide a new growth point for value-added telecommunication service providers," said Lu Liang, general manager of the wireless division of Taobao. He added that Taobao will continue to look for more expansion opportunities in the wireless market. He noted China Telecom's 3G technology will be vital for Taobao to expand its wireless business.

There were 388 million Internet users in China by the end of June, said the China Internet Network Information Center. Users accessing the Web with their handsets grew 37 million in the first half of the year to 155 million.

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