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Koubei offers rewarding to fend off competition

ALIBABA’S local lifestyle services Koubei said it would unveil a commission rewarding plan to allow more individual and institutional users to help promote its online-to-offline services and to encourage brick-and-mortar stores to secure more customers online.

It will start to invite selected users to help merchants promote lifestyle services through the Koubei platform, such as restaurant and discount offerings in an effort to allow merchants to promote their discount information more effectively.

Koubei, which is a joint venture between Alibaba Group and it finance arm Ant Financial, was unveiled last year and aims at connections offline merchants with tens of billions of Chinese consumers that turn to their smartphones to search for local deals and coupons.

Ant Financial runs the country’s most popular online payment service Alipay and has been hoping to turn into an indispensable tool for not only online shopping but various kinds of offline activities as well.

Alibaba and Ant Financial had pledged to invest a combined US$1 billion to tap China's fast-growing local services market such as food delivery and online film ticketing.  It’s seen as the e-commerce giant’s O2O vehicle to challenge other market players including Tencent-backed Meituan-Dianping.

Koubei chief executive officer of Fan Chi said the company currently handles 10 million orders on an average day and it hopes to create an ecosystem that benefit merchants, service providers and individual consumers alike.

He added that Koubei hopes to work with more collaborators to help offline merchants to better leverage and manage their foot traffic as well as online users.


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