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back to article Chinese web tat bazaar takes profit hit, 'invests in quality'

Chinese e-commerce biz Alibaba (1688.HK) has taken a hammering in the last three months as profits fell 25 per cent compared to the same period last year. A chill in the Chinese economy, combined with investment aimed taking the tat-flogging site more "upmarket" have brought profits down, said Alibaba execs in their pre-results …

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FAIL

I gave Alibaba a try

Figured I should give it a chance. I was looking for a cheap power transformer, the kind you find as part of a small DC power supply, 24 watts or so. In my query, I provided fairly detailed electrical and mechanical specifications.

What I got back was basically junk. Lots of spam from Alibaba itself, spam from freight forwarders, a couple of replies offering power transformers of the kind you find on concrete pads outside manufacturing plants...and one or two legitimate replies.

My conclusion? Far too much filtering required to find anything I need. And the communication barrier, of course. Bare minimum (and sometimes, not even that!) product information. Formulaic responses, repeated verbatim in response to my follow-up emails. English comprehension minimal (well, it *is* China, after all), but you'd expect better given that they were advertising their product in English.

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