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Alibaba, China's largest online retailer, may soon grow bigger thanks to a new service to help customers find international suppliers.
On July 23, Alibaba will release a new suite of services to help large and active buyers find the right manufacturers from around the world. Dubbed AliPrimeBuyer, buyers can request Alibaba.com's industry specialists to find suppliers that can meet their sometimes stringent and specific requirements. Once the request is submitted, Alibaba says that buyers will receive a list of potential suppliers within 24 hours.
Currently, companies looking for an international supplier can use AliSourcePro. The service differs from AliPrimeBuyer in two significant ways. Not only is AliSourcePro a software service, but it could also take up to two days to find a qualified supplier that meets a buyer's needs.
Of course, not all is good. There is still a risk that suppliers may be paired up with a "poor" buyer. To prevent this from happening, Alibaba requires buyers on AliPrimeBuyer to post their company profile and sourcing histories. That way, buyers can better establish trust with suppliers.
Once launched, AliPrimeBuyer will be available by invitation only. The company will restrict the service to businesses whose buying requests total $1 million annually or that have submitted more than eight buying requests per year. The Chinese e-tailer will make exceptions for companies that are among the world's top 1,000 largest or can demonstrate leadership in their own industry. For those who don't qualify, AliSourcePro will still be available.
If all goes well, Alibaba hopes that Alibaba.com can become more than a do-it-yourself international commercial directory.