Carousell eyes transactions boost with help of AI, partners

December 17, 2018 13:44
Carousell's Brian Sze explains how his firm teams up with second-hand designer bag retailer Milan Station to help users authenticate luxury handbags sold on the online marketplace. Photo: HKEJ

Asia-focused online classified marketplace Carousell recently announced that its Hong Kong unit has partnered with Hong Kong-listed second-hand designer bag retailer Milan Station (01150.HK) to help users authenticate luxury handbags sold on the platform.

In an interview with Hong Kong Economic Journal, Brian Sze, Carousell Hong Kong’s general manager, said the fast-growing online marketplace will continue to research ways to deploy artificial intelligence-powered technology to verify the authenticity of goods available on the platform.

Teaming up with trusted partners, the company would also introduce product authentication services for high-value goods such as luxury watches and cars, he said.

Since the platform entered Hong Kong in 2016, more than 20 million items were sold on Carousell Hong Kong, with 6.7 million successful transactions made as of end-September this year, according to Sze.

The market has seen multiple online platforms emerging in recent years, including Facebook Marketplace. Asked about the intensifying competition in the field, Sze told HKEJ that Carousell's advantage lies in the independence of the platform, and its ability to protect the rights of both buyers and sellers through technology solutions.

“For example, we use AI technology to check if any goods uploaded to our platform are animals, weapons or guns that are prohibited for buying and selling,” said Sze, “We also have professional staff to further check the goods detected by our system.”

Carousell Hong Kong recently joined hands with Milan Station, which will act as a verification partner for Carousell to offer free authentication service in Milan Station’s physical stores for Chanel and Hermès luxury handbags sold on the platform.

Sellers can add a hashtag “#Milan12” to their Chanel or Hermès bags listings on Carousell. When the seller accepts a purchase order, Carousell will suggest both parties make a reservation with one of the Milan Station stores for product verification service before the transaction.

In the physical store, the staff at Milan Station will verify the authenticity of the traded bag and put a verification label on it after checking.

Asked if the company will deploy AI technology to authenticate the branded luxury handbags directly on the platform, Sze admits that there are some issues to be resolved. For example, he pointed out that the accuracy of authentication service depends on the quality of the picture uploaded by the seller.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 17

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal