Tmall Goes Social With Brand-Tagging Mobile App

    Shopping meets social networking on a new mobile feature unveiled by Alibaba's B2C giant.
    Tmall adds a social networking element to its mobile app, allowing users to upload pictures and place "brand tags" on them. (Tmall)
    Shuan SimAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    Tmall adds a social networking element to its mobile app, allowing users to upload pictures and place "brand tags" on them. (Tmall)

    The addition of “brand tags” onto users’ pictures on social networking isn’t exactly a new idea—apps such as Pinco and Nice were built around such features for users to place tags on what they’re wearing. Despite their popularity, neither of those apps were linked to any shopping platforms. Enter e-tailer giant Tmall, who rolled out its version of social networking replete with its own brand-tagging capabilities. Named “FUN” (fan’r, 范儿in Chinese) it allows users to upload photos of themselves and place brand tags on them. Tapping on these tags brings users to a brand page, where the brand’s product page can be accessed.

    Tapping on the "brand tags" on users' photos brings up the brand page. (Tmall)

    From the brand page, users can then easily access Tmall's shopping options. (Tmall)

    The social networking option is added onto Tmall’s existing mobile client, and has three main features. “Recommendations” show the latest and hottest user pictures. “Tags” not only allow users to search for brands, but also comprise time-sensitive events that allow users to submit photos in order to win prizes. Lastly, “Follow” allows users to follow brands, celebrities, and users.

    Tmall encourages users to participate in contests and giveaways, such as this one asking users to post pictures wearing American brands for a chance to win some Calvin Klein goods. (Tmall)

    FUN was launched last Friday after a month of prior testing. According to Chinese tech news site, FUN is part of Tmall’s “Endless Individuality” marketing strategy, aimed at celebrating and promoting the differing tastes of its users. After its month-long beta testing stage, FUN already had a million users on its official launch announcement. reports that Tmall might have plans to take its app international, and has already made arrangements with Burberry to create a real-time engagement event at the end of July on its platform. There are approximately over 6,500 brands on the app.

    A Chinese tech blog raises the concern that some users who exclusively tag only one brand might be "fake netizens," or companies masquerading as users for promotional purposes. (Tmall)

    Chinese tech blog 36kr raises the concern that FUN might also provide the platform with what it calls “fake netizens”—brands masquerading as regular users to themselves. However, it believes that these “promotional users” usually have very high-quality pictures and feature exclusively only one brand, making them easy to spot.

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