• Alibaba's Jack Ma in Singapore

Alibaba's Jack Ma in Singapore (Photo : Getty Images)

Alibaba's popular shopping site Taobao is now directly linked to shoppers in Singapore through online retailer Lazada's website, taobao.lazada.sg, a step ahead of U.S. rival Amazon.

Last year, Alibaba acquired e-commerce Lazada for $1 billion, as part of its expansion into Southeast Asia and reducing reliance on its home market.

Like Us on Facebook

An article by todayonline.com said that Taobao Collection went live this week, giving shoppers direct access to Alibaba's dedicated online store and enabling consumers to shop in Taobao to Singapore.

Taobao aims to attract shoppers in Singapore who want to shop directly and feel more comfortable using a local connection.

Alexis Lanternier, Lazada Singapore CEO, said that they are offering more than 400,000 items -from electronics to home products - which have specially chosen for the Singapore consumers.

Lanternier added that the range of products was selected based on sales record and customer reviews, and on existing line-up of about 1.5 billion items on the Taobao website.

According to Lanternier, it was done to help shoppers overcome some challenges when shopping from Taobao, which also includes the lowering of shipping fees. He added that Taobao Collection has dispensed with external agents to be able to offer consumers with a flat delivery rate of Singapore $2.99 per order.

"Lazada is aiming at solving difficulties that currently exist when shopping from Taobao, enabling an effortless way for them to shop," the Lazada CEO said.

"The site will be translated into English (from Chinese) and shoppers don't have to worry about shipping, payment methods and returns. Shoppers can also track their orders end-to-end on Lazada and can shop exactly as they would on Lazada Singapore," Lanternier added.

Industry experts said that Taobao's entry into Singapore will have an immense impact as it would expand the e-commerce field and encourage the participation of many retailers.

Qoo10, an online shopping platform in Singapore, with more 2.5 million registered users, said that Taobao's entry would encourage online retailers to be more creative in attracting customers. But it remains confident about its future in the industry.

Taobao's entry into Singapore, according to industry players, is likely to have far-reaching implications even as it expands the playing field for e-commerce and creates a more dynamic landscape for retailers.

"It will definitely require online retailers to continuously think on their feet to come up with new and fresh offerings, in order to keep their customers engaged. To ultimately drive Singapore's weakening retail sector, online and offline retailers should synergize with--instead of cannibalize--each other," Hyun Wook Cho, Qoo10 Singapore country manager, said.