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Alibaba.com Product Category Management Specification


Version No.: 20200211                                         Effective Date: February 11, 2020


Article 1 [Purpose]

This Specification is hereby formulated to standardize product category settings, improve the process of product release, and enhance buyers' procurement efficiency.


Article 2 [Definition]

Product Category refers to the classification of products on Alibaba.com by its members according to certain specifications in order to satisfy the buyers' accurate and efficient search for product information, which can be divided into first-class category, second-class category, third-class category, and leaf category according to product characteristics and nature.


Article 3 [Category setting]

Alibaba.com has 36 first-class product categories, including Agriculture, Apparel, Beauty & Personal Care, Business Services, Chemicals, Construction & Real Estate, Consumer Electronics, Electrical Equipment & Supplies, Electronic Components, Accessories & Telecommunications, Energy, Environment, Fabrication Services, Fashion Accessories, Food & Beverage, Furniture, Gifts & Crafts, Health & Medical, Home & Garden, Home Appliances, Lights & Lighting, Luggage, Bags & Cases, Machinery, Minerals & Metallurgy, Office & School Supplies, Packaging & Printing, Promotional Products, Rubber & Plastics, Security & Protection, Service Equipment, Shoes & Accessories, Sports & Entertainment, Textiles & Leather Products, Timepieces, Jewelry, Eyewear, Tools & Hardware, Toys & Hobbies, and Vehicles & Accessories.


Article 4 [Adjustment method]

Alibaba.com will adjust the product category structure and classification method from time to time according to its business needs, including category name change, category addition, splitting, deletion, merging, and migration.


Article 5 [Adjustment process]

When making a category adjustment, Alibaba.com will officially announce such adjustment on waimaoquan.alibaba.com and rule.1688.com at least seven working days in advance, and inform the adjusted content and implementation pace. The instructions are as follows:

Phase 1: The new category/partial path change/renamed category goes online: For categories where new and old categories coexist, the new category will be greyed out and the products cannot be released for the time being.

Phase 2: The old category will be greyed out and the products under the old category cannot be edited: The products under the new category can now be released. Amendment to nature of product will be required, and the product-release function of the old category will be affected.

Phase 3: Products are migrated: Products under the old category will be migrated via the system to the new category. Migration rules will be based on product title keywords. During the migration phase, members can independently change new categories and release products thereunder.

Phase 4: The old category will be blocked: The old category will be invisible on Alibaba.com.


The specific implementation date of each phase shall be subject to the time notified in the announcement.


Appendix I: Alibaba.com Post Category List (as of December 2019)

Annex: Alibaba.com Post Categories as of December 2019


Appendix II: Industry Category Admission Requirements

When members release products under some industry categories, they must meet corresponding merchant or product qualification admission requirements:

- Merchant qualification requirements: Members shall provide to Alibaba.com the qualification certificates through which their local government regulators allow them to engage in the production or operation of specific categories of products and their export license for such specific categories of products. For more details, please see the Introduction to Authorization and Qualification Documents of Restricted Commodities.

- Product qualification requirements: To meet the regulatory requirements of different countries and regions, members shall provide to Alibaba.com the product qualification compliance certificates required by the relevant countries and regions where the products are sold to.


Appendix III: Category Misplacement

Members shall select the most suitable and relevant category prior to releasing their products. The category recommended by the system is for reference only. Members shall select the categories of products to be released carefully according to the nature and actual situation of the products. Where a member selects a wrong category, such member may be penalized pursuant to the Rules for Enforcement Actions against Non-compliance Relating to Inappropriate Product Postings and other relevant rules of Alibaba.com.

With respect to categories under special control, members must select specified categories for relevant commodity information. If a member does not select a category as required, Alibaba.com will deem that such member has evaded the selection of a category and it has the right to penalize such member pursuant to the Enforcement Actions for Displaying Prohibited and Controlled Items, the Rules for Enforcement Actions against Non-compliance Relating to Inappropriate Product Postings, and other relevant rules of Alibaba.com.