Alibaba’s Tmall Reportedly Punishing Retailers Who Won’t Sign Exclusives

Five major U.S. retailers who sell on Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace have run into headwinds when they refuse to sign exclusive agreements with the Chinese ecommerce giant, according to a report from CNBC.

Executives from the five major brands – all of whom refused to be identified publicly for fear of further reprisal – said traffic to their Tmall storefronts fell significantly after deciding against exclusive partnerships.

All of this comes against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s efforts to gain a better agreement with China that would lessen the huge trade imbalance, and an ongoing “cat and dog fight” between Alibaba and main Chinese rival JD.com.

Alibaba has denied the allegations, saying it’s standard practice to strike exclusivity deals with retailers.

“Alibaba and Tmall conduct business in full compliance with Chinese laws,” the company said in a statement to CNBC. “Like many ecommerce platforms, we have exclusive partnerships with some of the merchants on Tmall. The merchant decides to choose such an arrangement because of the attractive services and value Tmall brings to them.”

JD.com claims 100 Chinese brands defected to its platform last year due to pressure from Alibaba, a figure the latter has questioned.

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