A taobao.com customer (right) shops online from his mobile phone. Zhang Xiaoyu / For China Daily
BEIJING - Taobao.com has stirred up competition in the recruitment market after the shopping site on Monday decided to pitch its newly launched e-commerce job services against those offered by established players like 51job.com and Zhaopin.com.
The company said its services will be targeted at the burgeoning e-commerce industry in China.
Though most of the employers on its portal are Taobao shop owners, the company expressed confidence that it would include other companies also soon.
"E-commerce companies are free to publish their job openings with us," said Liu Bo, head of Taobao University, the training division of Taobao.
Liu said job openings on Taobao's employment portal will soar to 100,000 by the end of this year, compared with 2,600 now.
The new dedicated platform, he said, will also influence other online employment service companies in the long term.
"People like to choose specific sites for specific needs," said Liu. "I believe Taobao can meet the needs of the e-commerce industry," he said.
Employment service providers, however, feel that such dedicated services are not a threat.
"Employers like to seek employees through different channels, and it's unlikely that Taobao will be able to wean customers from other job sites," said Jennifer Feng, public relations director of Nasdaq-listed 51job.com.
She said employment service sites provide a wide range of professional services, which are not easy to duplicate.
But at the same time, there is also a growing demand for e-commerce professionals as online sales transactions increase rapidly.
That, in turn, may see more and more companies vying with each other to provide specialized services.
Positions for online salesmen have increased by 70 percent since 2009, and are expected to reach 130,000 this year on 51job.com, Feng said.
Hao Jian, a senior consultant with Zhaopin.com, said Taobao's services will not impact them, as it does not extend to sectors other than e-commerce.
Taobao has said it will focus solely on e-commerce employment. The platform, which involves about 3,700 employers, offers its services for free, and the company said it needs further planning to decide whether to charge fees in the future.
Taobao earlier this month expanded its travel business to sell international airline tickets, in a move to take on online travel companies such as Ctrip.com International Ltd.
Online sales on Taobao reached 208.3 billion yuan ($30.61 billion) last year, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total online shopping transaction volumes in China.