Alibaba beefs up verification on Idle Fish resale site

Alibaba says it has introduced an upgraded authentication service for consumers who use its second-hand online marketplace Idle Fish.

Idle Fish is a consumer-to-consumer community and marketplace in China specialising in second-hand, recycled and refurbished goods, with an emphasis on luxury goods, that first launched in 2014 and draws on Alibaba’s Taobao network and Alipay payment processes.

It is thought to be the biggest resale platform in China, with a user base of around 300 million people and rising, and an estimated three-quarter share of the market, well ahead of closest competitor Zhuan Zhuan, according to a Jing Daily report.

Over 180m people in China used second-hand trading platforms in 2020, reaching a market size of RMB374.5 billion ($54bn), said Alibaba, citing figures from iiMedia Research. The research also revealed however that the lack of trust and the risk of buying counterfeits stopped over 30 per cent of Internet users from using the platforms – the highest concern noted by consumers in the survey.

Idle Fish’s verification is similar to eBay’s much-trumpeted ‘authenticity guarantee’, which relies on the use of independent appraisal for goods in selected products categories, currently sneakers, high-end watches, luxury bags, trading cards and fine jewelry.

Alibaba hasn’t revealed specifics about the products that can be verified, but said the upgrade has doubled the number of brands that consumers can authenticate on the platform, with the option to verify over 18 million goods and collect a detailed report “within eight hours.”

“In the past, consumers could only check if the goods they trade were authentic or not,” said Alibaba. “Post the upgrade, they can see a detailed description of the goods’ condition in high-resolution photos, including signs that would indicate a counterfeit.”

It added that Idle Fish customers can get a refund if they receive a fake item – particularly if they have used the authentication service – or if the item they buy gets lost or is delayed during shipping.

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