hile sellers on Alibaba’s Taobao are known for pursuing trends and jacking up prices at the opportune moment, now is not the time.
Taobao has sent out a notice to all of its vendors, warning them that there will be no price hikes when it comes to face masks, which have become the hottest commodity on Chinese e-commerce sites this week as the deadly Wuhan virus has people across the country concerned for their respiratory health.
The company said it would be launching official subsidies to ensure that masks remain priced at a reasonable level, adding that Taobao and Tmall have sufficient masks to meet the increased demand through the Spring Festival holiday.
Alibaba also vowed that it will continue to offer non-stop delivery services through the holiday. Consumers in big cities like Wuhan, Beijing, and Shanghai can use the Taobao app to order masks from local pharmacies and have them delivered straight to their homes.
Other e-commerce companies like JD.com and Sunning have made similar pledges about keeping mask prices low after the government warned the companies to look out for price gouging.
Face masks have become essential apparel in Wuhan. Those without masks on are not allowed in public places like restaurants, hotels, and cinemas. Even broadcasters are wearing them on air while reading out the news.