The growing number of influential Weibo commentators are increasingly opening their own online shops or promoting products.
American Express has bought a minority stake in Respond.com, an online "shop by request'' service that connects buyers with sellers. The two companies also signed a joint marketing agreement in which American Express will promote the Respond.com services on its merchant Web site www.americanexpress.com/merchant, while Respond.com will promote American Express services on its site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Buyers using Respond.com's free shop by request service type in a description of the item they want to purchase. The buyer's request is forwarded to the Respond.com sellers, who have registered for requests in given categories. Sellers respond via e-mail to the buyer, who then chooses which seller to contact directly to negotiate the purchase. Buyers remain anonymous to the sellers until they are ready to make a purchase.