Billionaire Jack Ma, Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman, talks about his unusual entrepreneurial beginnings at Stanford University on May 4, 2013. See what else he has to say about e-commerce and the China opportunity.
Alibaba.com this month is expanding its Verified Membership program to suppliers in Europe and Malaysia as the international B2B company continues to try to upgrade the quality of its user base.
Launched in the U.S. and India at the beginning of 2012, the Verified Membership program is a free service aimed at Alibaba.com's non-paying suppliers. Those who join the program undergo basic background checks to establish they are legitimate and not scammers or identity thieves posing as real businesses. Website staffers cross-check government records, such as tax ID numbers, and other sources to confirm a company is real and to verify its contact and other information is accurate. So far, about 8,000 suppliers have been verified, enabling them to post a special logo on their Alibaba.com online storefronts.
Verification helps to establish trust with potential buyers and helps suppliers distinguish themselves from hundreds of thousands of non-verified suppliers who market their products through Alibaba.com, says Bhushan Arun Patil, site operations director for the program. Verified members achieve higher search rankings than free members, Patil says, and buyers can filter their product searches in favor of verified suppliers. As a result, those who participate in the program typically boost product views by 4-5 times and receive three times more buyer enquiries, he says.
Patil adds that Alibaba.com is planning to continue to expand the Verified Membership program to new markets. The website is also seeking the participation of trade associations, import-export banks and other trade-related organizations whose members have already been deemed legitimate, offering these companies free verified memberships in Alibaba.com. Click here to learn more.