Alibaba.com (1688.HK), China’s largest business-to-business trading platform, said Monday it will team up with Home Inns & Hotels Management (HMIN.NY), China’s largest budget hotel operator, to use the niche hospitality market to grow its business presence among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Shanghai Securities News
reported. Alibaba will give SME members of Home Inns free access to its “winport” online stall, which allows them to sell goods online. Access rights to winport are valued at US$143 (RMB980) per year. Home Inns has attracted more than one million members nationwide, of which 40% are SMEs, while Alibaba has over 30 million SME members. However, statistics show only 3% of China’s 42 million SMEs sell goods online due to expensive setup and maintenance costs and the complicated nature of online operations.