China-based Taobao Mall has announced that it will allow 38 online retailers to open virtual stores on its site as the country's largest online retail platform looks to partner with smaller companies.

The Alibaba Group-owned e-commerce giant said yesterday (19 September) that the move will "further enhance the consumer retail experience by assembling the widest variety of quality brands and authentic products in a single shopping destination, creating an ecosystem for all e-comerce stakeholders"

Taobao Mall, which offers a similar service as eBay, will not sell merchandise or become a retailer, and will continue to focus on its core competency as a B2C platform that helps brands and retailers to grow and flourish. said Alibaba chief strategy officer Zeng Ming. " We are not weighted down by the low gross margin pressures of taking on our own inventory. Our platform business model enables us to re-invest our profits towards better customer experiences and support for merchants."