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Alibaba's used-goods marketplace to pilot premium channel for branded stores

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Idle Fish marketplace will pilot a channel that will allow brands to offer their products through the Chinese online retailer's used-goods platform, according to a Jan. 4 post on Alibaba's news site, Alizila.

The company, which also operates e-commerce portals Taobao and Tmall, began signing up businesses for its secondhand platform's premium channel, where brands can oversee their own official stores and sell off idle assets, including samples, excess inventory or used products.

The new channel will cover electronic appliances during the pilot stage, before expanding its offering to more categories, such as jewelry, watches, shoes, handbags, books, instruments and luxury goods.

Although the Alibaba unit is yet to release an exact date when the channel will be launched, Chinese electronics companies TCL Corp. and Changhong, as well as laptop brand ThinkPad, have already registered for the brand-certified site, according to the e-commerce company.

Shi Jian, who was chosen to lead the new channel, said the move adds a business-to-consumer dimension to Idle Fish, which previously operated as a consumer-to-consumer platform.

Idle Fish, or Xianyu in Mandarin, will also offer "no-questions-asked" refunds for all products within seven days of purchase and exchanges within 30 days of purchase. The site will also provide a 180-day service support guarantee for its users.

Launched by Alibaba's Taobao in 2014, Idle Fish is an online community for secondhand transactions that is now expected to become "as popular" as Taobao in the next three to five years, said Taobao President Jiang Fan.