UPDATE 1-Chinese rivals snap at Alibaba's heels in cross-border e-commerce race

Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:55pm EST
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(Adds details on JD.com)

By Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI Feb 26 (Reuters) - A Chinese government push to promote e-commerce has created a host of online retail rivals for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Amazon.com Inc catering to shoppers' fears about the quality and safety of local everyday goods.

Logistics firms have been encouraged by tax-relief programmes and other policies that gained traction last year. Several, including SF Express and state-owned Sinotrans , have jumped into a field dominated by JD.com Inc , Alibaba's biggest rival, which boasts 118 warehouses and thousands of delivery stations.

They're all vying to grab a piece of the cross-border e-commerce market which the government estimates to be worth $1 trillion by 2016.

Smaller local internet firms like Netease Inc, which partnered last month with Sinotrans to set up an online bazaar, are also keen to gain from the sector known as "haitao", which roughly translates as "seeking treasures abroad".

"Local e-commerce businesses aren't able to meet the needs of China's consumers who are increasingly buying from abroad," said Masa Ren, vice president of international e-commerce services at SF Express, one of China's biggest logistics firms.

The company launched a portal in January selling lobster, milk powder and other items it sources from retailers in countries such as Canada and Japan.

JD.com Inc has carved out a chunk of China's e-commerce sector by marketing the authenticity of its products to Chinese consumers wary of low quality and fake goods.   Continued...