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Battle of the "Three Kingdoms"


Aug 15, 2012
Translated by Zhang Dian

An intense price battle has broken out among China's three main consumer electrical appliance dealers, (京东商城), Suning (苏宁电器) and Gome (国美电器). The price war officially began at 9am this morning after each of the three companies committed themselves to undercutting their competitors when it came to price.

Richard Liu (刘强东), CEO of, one of China's largest online retailers, set the ball rolling when he announced via his Sina Weibo account yesterday that products on 360buy's Jingdong Mall will be sold for at least 10 percent less than what it costs to buy them at Suning or Gome - the two dominant "bricks and mortar" electrical appliance dealers.

In response to Liu's pledge, Gome and Suning both announced that the prices of goods sold through their online store would be lower than that in 360 Buy.

Richard Liu once again replied via his Sina Weibo account: "If you find a product priced at 1 yuan at Suning, you will find it for free on!"

While some people are happy to see the big retailers descend into a price war, others suspect it may all be part of a marketing strategy aimed at getting people purchasing stuff online.

Some complained of waking up early to purchase products through only to find that they couldn't open the site.

Another Weibo user complained that all the products she's interested in have already been withdrawn from, noting that while many of the products for sale are indeed cheap, most of them are outdated.

One Weibo user, Niguang Xianmo (逆光阡陌) complained that was simply inflating the original price of products to make it look like they're offering a hefty discout - "I bought a TV for 2,999 yuan a few days ago, but I found that today as the "big price battle" begins the TV is priced at 3,999 yuan."

At the time we published this post, the majority of respondents to an online poll conducted via Sina Weibo said that the three retail giants were working together in order to create publicity rather than really being engaged in a price war.

Lu Zhenwang (鲁振旺), an industry analyst, believes that, whose core business up until now has involved selling small-sized computers, communication devices and consumer electronics, is trying to take on Gome and Suning, which have dominated the large domestic appliances market.

"If the large appliances sold by Gome and Suning become popular in the online business-to-consumer arena, these two companies will end up losing a lot of profits."

Links and Sources
Sina Weibo: 电商价格大战
National Business Daily: 三大电商今日拼“血”:家电厂家忐忑围观
Sina Weibo: image



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