Ive been fired. Im no longer in the company. Zhong Lin was on the other end of the phone, a little impatient.
When the reporter of Economic Observer found Zhong Lin on the pulse on May 7, his identity authentication was vice president of zhaoxiu.com. However, for this identity, he said that he had been forced to leave the show in April.
On March 20, zhaoxiu.com issued a notice of suspension of business at the center of its homepage, which emphasized the global spread of the epidemic, which had a negative impact on its business.
The black swan incident caused many industry enterprises unexpected. During the anti epidemic period, it is not uncommon for enterprises to declare closure because of business suspension. But for zou.com, it has been 12 years since the company was founded in 2007 and launched in 2008. It is an old e-commerce platform in China.
After the economic crisis in 2008, the first wave of enterprises founded on the smell of cross-border e-commerce business opportunities, it dominated the cross-border trade of luxury goods, occupying the market earlier than vipshop and Siku. Although it later transformed from a single vertical luxury e-commerce to a full category platform, it was ill fated and won three rounds of financing of 150 million US dollars. It missed listing due to smuggling cases, Since then it has become tepid. From the current point of view, when vipshop and Siku put the banner of the brand into the US stock market, the predecessor of zou.s.a. is far from it, and in the past two years, no one has paid attention to it.
Its a great surprise that even the official announcement business of zhaoxiu failed to attract attention from the outside world. Even in Baidu, Zhihu, Sina Weibo and other platforms, the relevant search keywords such as zhaoxiu, zhaoxius business suspension were typed, and there was no relevant report.
When the reporter asked for an interview about the current situation of the company, Im only in charge of administration, but I dont know the specific companys business situation, Zhong repeatedly stressed, you want to know about the company, go to Ji Wenhong to find out about the situation.
Ji Wenhong, as he said, is the founder and CEO of zhaoxiu.com. He used to be a startup upstart favored by famous venture capitalists, but he was arrested for smuggling in 2017. However, in Zhong Lins reply, the reporter realized that Ji Wenhong, who was focused by the spotlight three years ago and reported to be in prison, is still the boss of zhaoxiu.com and the actual controller behind him.
According to a source close to zhaoxiu.com, Ji Wenhong was arrested, but he was not jailed. Instead, he was on bail and awaiting trial. He has always been the actual manager of zhaoxiu.com, in-service management. The reporter called Ji Wenhong many times, and even got in touch with him through SMS and wechat, but he didnt reply.
During the interview, the reporter found that the suspension of business on zhaoxiu.com not only surprised insiders like Zhong Lin, but also flustered many users and suppliers partners.
There is no way to collect money
Online shopping is a happy thing for Li Lin, especially she can buy cheap luxury brands on some e-commerce platforms, even if it takes a while, but the cost is 5-7% off the counter, which is very cost-effective.
However, to Li Lins surprise, as a well-known cross-border e-commerce, zuoshiu.com was a hole, which made her fall sharply.
One year ago, on March 10, 2019, Li Lin bought three clothes on the show, totaling 2593 yuan. But the goods have not yet been delivered, she immediately contacted the customer service of the show network, applied for a refund or delivery, but the online customer service did not reply.
One month, two months, half a year, one year has passed Thousands of dollars in water? Li Lin, who is almost disappointed, will still click into zhaoxiu from time to time to check the progress of that order, and the result will only make her despair.
On March 28, 2020, when she once again entered the website, what caught her eye was the eye-catching announcement on the front page. From March 21, 2020, we will suspend business and resume business hours to be determined.
In the announcement, zhaoxiu.com said that its most important businesses are concentrated overseas, affected by the spread of the epidemic, under the action control and urban blockade, many sales and services are extremely affected and stop, and based on the uncertainty of the epidemic trend, it made a decision to suspend business.
At the same time, it also announced that it would change the online customer service to wechat service, if you have any questions, please add wechat to contact customer service, and we will continue to provide help and support for you. at the bottom of this announcement, four wechat QR codes of customer service are attached.
On March 28, she wrote down her experience in the 315 consumer insurance online complaint center and launched a complaint to zoxiu.com.
The reporter of Economic Observer also added four customer services in the announcement of zhaoxiu.com by scanning the code in turn. Although the customer service can send a message immediately with one key, the customer service response after that was very consistent: none of them responded.
Its not hard to imagine that Li Lins message of appeal to wechat customer service is like a stone in the ocean.
On March 30, the handling specialist replied that Li Lin had transferred the complaint to the enterprise, and zou.com was in the process of handling. To Li Lins surprise, she received two clothes that day, and then she added a supplement on the complaint platform: there is still one long sleeve T-shirt left.
Based on the complaint platform, three days later, April 2, 2020, and 388 days later, all the goods Li Lin bought on zou.com were finally delivered to her.
In the course of the interview, the reporter found that Li Lins situation was not unique. Not only on the e-commerce consumer dispute mediation platform, but also on Sina Weibo, Zhihu and other platforms with social attributes, many users and suppliers have launched complaints against zhaoxiu.com, the former mostly applies for after-sales service, the latter just pours out their bitterness and has no way to recover money.
The payment in 2017 has not been paid up to now. Chen Hong, from Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, is a supplier of zhaoxiu.com. The payment for goods is not much, less than 20000 yuan. but she couldnt wait, so she decided to file a lawsuit. Im going to send a lawyers letter to protect rights.
Like Chen Hong, there are many people who have started to chase after the payment of zhaoxiu.com since 2017. A woman, whose company on Sina Weibo showed up as UK Youzhuang group, simply changed her Internet name to did you settle the payment on todays zhaoxiu.com.
On September 20, 2019, this lady sent out a micro blog to show that the company has made a small part, the revolution has not been successful, and continues to work hard. She did not want to, when she was still self encouraging and persevering, the official of the company announced to suspend business.
The Economic Observer newspaper as like as two peas, the woman will send out a picture of micro-blog every day, almost identical to the text. At 23:31 in the evening of May 13th, she wrote, is the settlement of the show online today?
When the reporter informed Ding Daoshi of the announcement recently made by zhaoxiu.com, as an analyst who has been focusing on e-commerce research for many years, he could not help but sigh, I dont know if you dont say it.
Li Chengdong, the founder of dolphin think tank who has also been rooted in the field of e-commerce for strategic analysis for many years, was asked by reporters about the problems related to Zou show again, and his response was surprisingly consistent with that of Mr. Ding Daoshi: isnt it early?
In their opinion, when Ji Wenhong, CEO of the company, was arrested for smuggling in 2017, the development of the company ended.
In the first generation of e-commerce platform with the web as the core, zhaoxiu is mainly engaged in luxury cross-border transactions, which is also the earlier platform in China to engage in luxury e-commerce. However, after the financial crisis in 2008, there was not only a platform of zhaoxiu.com, but also luxury e-commerce platforms such as youzhong.com, huha.com, the Fifth Avenue, zhenpin.com, vipshop.com, shangpin.com, siku.com, charisma.com, sina luxury.com, jiapin.com and zunxiang.com, with a scale of dozens.
Among the luxury e-commerce platforms, zou.com is the high-profile one. It frequently names or cooperates to hold various activities. An early employee told reporters three things that impressed him most.
One is that we signed Yang Mi to be the spokesperson on the show website, and the advertisement has been spread all over the Beijing subway station in the capital. The other is that in 2011, we won the $20 million venture capital of kaipenghuaying, an American venture capital institution, and half a year later, we won the $100 million investment of the famous American private equity fund Huaping investment group, which directly set the most in the history of Chinas e-commerce at that time High B round financing record; another is Ji Wenhong elected as the representative of Shenzhen Futian Districts peoples Congress under the halo of star entrepreneurs.
Based on the past data, the reporter of Economic Observer learned that with the development of financing and market, zhaoxiu.com constantly released signals: from self operation to cooperation with overseas platforms, to establish contracts with famous brand stores and partners, so as to strengthen overseas direct delivery.
At that time, the catchword of zhaoxiu.com was product fidelity. Even CEO Ji Wenhong frequently stressed in an interview with the media that the ability of his supply chain was enough to guarantee the supply of goods.
The third-party cross-border transshipment agencies used by the company are suspected of smuggling cases, and some of its personnel are investigated. Although zoxiu responded to the smuggling case on August 17, 2017 through its official microblog, saying that all businesses were normal, Li said, even the boss went to jail, and no one paid attention to the company.
Ding Daoshi described it as like ancient creatures. Although led by Ji Wenhong, it was once labeled as a star team, a new entrepreneur and so on, he thought that after the smuggling case, it had no influence in the industry. The core executives illegal crime, the problem is very serious, even the fuse that made the platform go to the end..
Judging from the actual situation, there are few big moves in the past two years. Even from Baidu search and its related news, from 2018 to now, the news reports about the show can almost be described as blank.
During the interview, although the interviewees didnt know much about the development status of zhaoxiu.com in recent two years, they were still surprised by the platforms several more years, and more plaintive, the development of luxury vertical e-commerce in the global scope is not particularly smooth. Said Zhuang Shuai.
The reporter learned that although there are many platforms for targeting luxury goods transactions, many of them are in transition or differentiation based on the development constraints of the later market and the review of their own supply chain capabilities. For example, vipshop will transform its brand tail products, while shangpin.com has embarked on the road of light luxury, and youzhong.com has launched offline stores. Even zou.com has decided to put down luxury and turn to a full category platform. When e-commerce platforms enter the luxury sector, there may be short-term effects. Wang Jian, director of the international business research center of the University of foreign economic and trade, has always been not optimistic about luxury e-commerce. He believes that cross-border e-commerce platforms, including zhaoxiu.com, should pay attention to how to give a product value rule rather than tell a story from a marketing perspective.
In Wang Jians view, a lot of people have gone in the wrong direction. Looking back over the past few years, the collapse tide of luxury e-commerce has occurred, from huha.com, Sina luxury goods, zunxiang.com, jiapin.com and so on. In August 2019, shangpin.com, once valued at $1 billion in its heyday, suddenly collapsed. Now, the wheels of zou.com have stopped abruptly. In the field of luxury e-commerce, there are very few successful companies, so they are listed. Although Li Chengdong mentioned Siku, the reality that cant be ignored is that Siku broke off when it went public and its market value shrank greatly.
In 2017, when zou.com suffered, the posterity temple library went public in the United States. But as the first share of luxury e-commerce, listing is just the beginning of a dilemma. Since its listing, Sikus share price has continued to fall, now floating around $3, down nearly 80% compared with the issue price of $13 per share. Before the press release, Sikus share price was as low as $2.6 per share, with a market value of only $130 million.
In Li Chengdongs opinion, no matter the e-commerce platform such as zhaoxiu.com or siku.com, the cost of acquiring customers is high, and the repurchase rate of users also has disadvantages compared with other comprehensive platforms. Luxury brands have a different place, it is difficult to authorize to e-commerce platforms. In recent years, LV, Dior and other luxury brands have been frequently shocked, not only building their own online channels, but also willing to cooperate with tmall, JD and other platforms, but Li Chengdong said frankly, their positioning is not a sales function, but more a marketing display of the brand.
Zhou Ting, a luxury expert and President of VIP Research Institute, agrees, there is no opportunity for vertical luxury e-commerce. In her opinion, such e-commerce platforms lack of formal brand authorization, platform commitment is useless, if there is a problem with the source of goods, the damage will be great..
Zhou Ting said frankly that brand authorization is a problem that domestic cross-border vertical e-commerce has not been able to solve. This is exactly the incentive behind the illegal smuggling in the single vertical luxury e-commerce mode.
From Zhong Lins brief words, its not hard for the reporter to understand that the management decision of zhaoxiu.com comes from Ji Wenhong, the big boss behind. And where is the entrepreneur who was involved in the case and investigated, and what is he doing now?
On May 14, a reporter from the Economic Observer contacted LV Youchen, the lawyer in charge of the smuggling case on the Internet. During the wechat call, I learned that the first trial of the current case has ended, some parties have appealed, and the case has entered the second trial process, and the final result still needs to wait.
As a lawyer, LV Youchens practice area is related legal services such as import and export customs clearance, including import and export compliance, risk management, AEO certification, special services for customs inspection, customs administrative penalty case agent, smuggling crime case defense, etc.
Lu Youchens lawyer group has been focusing on cross-border e-commerce for many years, and has taken over numerous cases. Among them, the most popular one is the smuggling case of the show network that broke out in 2016.
In the interview, Lu Youchen confessed that the case is quite complicated. Since the trial in 2018, four sessions have been held before and after the trial. There are great disputes in fact determination and law application. He said that the trial process of this case is also relatively rare, which also reflects that in recent years, cross-border e-commerce practitioners are facing a high risk dilemma.
So far, it has been more than a month since the suspension of business. Whats the current situation? Will it be completely closed? Although the reporter with all kinds of questions, but because of Ji Wenhongs phone can not dial, do not know. As the representative of Chinas first generation of luxury e-commerce, although it is about to disappear in the e-commerce arena, it needs to be mentioned that it has left a footnote in the development history of cross-border e-commerce, and the question is, will it be defeated? Gong Wenxiang, a former employee of zhaoxiu.com and now the founder of Shenzhen electric shock e-commerce Co., Ltd., can be seen in the micro blog published on April 5 that Chinas largest luxury B2C e-commerce company, zhaoxiu.com (my former employer), has transformed into a wechat seller. Support. Wechat business in the transformation of zhaoxiu.com? In this regard, the reporter asked Mou Qing, vice president of zhaoxiu.com, in charge of operation affairs, for confirmation, but as of the press release, no further information had been obtained. (interviewees Li Lin and Chen Hong are all pseudonyms) source of this article: economic observation net editor in charge: Ding Guangsheng_ NT1941
So far, it has been more than a month since the suspension of business. Whats the current situation? Will it be completely closed? Although the reporter with all kinds of questions, but because of Ji Wenhongs phone can not dial, do not know.
As the representative of Chinas first generation of luxury e-commerce, although it is about to disappear in the e-commerce arena, it needs to be mentioned that it has left a footnote in the development history of cross-border e-commerce, and the question is, will it be defeated?
Gong Wenxiang, a former employee of zhaoxiu.com and now the founder of Shenzhen electric shock e-commerce Co., Ltd., can be seen in the micro blog published on April 5 that Chinas largest luxury B2C e-commerce company, zhaoxiu.com (my former employer), has transformed into a wechat seller. Support.
Wechat business in the transformation of zhaoxiu.com? In this regard, the reporter asked Mou Qing, vice president of zhaoxiu.com, in charge of operation affairs, for confirmation, but as of the press release, no further information had been obtained.
(the interviewees Li Lin and Chen Hong are pseudonyms)