By : Sonya Dowsett

MADRID: AliExpress, the global e-commerce platform of Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba, warned customers Tuesday that there could be delays in delivery due to the coronavirus outbreak.

AliExpress is one of the most downloaded shopping apps in the world. This is part of a growing e-commerce trend where consumers around the world are buying goods such as cell phones, vacuum cleaners and clothes directly from manufacturers primarily based in China.

“Some shipping and logistics companies have longer waiting times to process orders,” said a Facebook post.

Unlike Alibaba’s Tmall or Taobao, which target the domestic market, AliExpress is primarily aimed at international buyers.

Alibaba is pushing outside of China through divisions like AliExpress to offset slower domestic economic growth and increased competition from companies like JD.com.

AliExpress was launched in 2010 and is particularly popular in Russia, the United States, Brazil, Spain, and France. It sells items like jeans for $ 12.41 and wireless headphones for $ 6.64. According to Alibaba’s website, as of August 31, 2019, the company had more than 79 million active consumers per year.

Customers complained on Tuesday that orders were not only long in coming, but were automatically renewed instead of being canceled and refunded.

“It doesn’t instill confidence that they will renew your order forever, and you can’t stop it,” said Monika Hendry, who is originally from Poland and now lives in Hong Kong, who spent about $ 10 on a cell phone holder on Jan. 17 the site.

“The only response AliExpress offers is to contact the seller directly if you have problems but the seller doesn’t respond and then you get stuck. You have absolutely no recourse,” she said. “It’s a total waste of time.”

AliExpress said Tuesday it was constantly monitoring the situation.

“Some shipments may be affected, but we are working hard to support our sellers during this difficult time while minimizing the inconvenience for our customers,” said a statement sent via email.

Alibaba Group warned of a decline in sales in its key e-commerce businesses in February as the coronavirus hit supply chains and shipments in China.

Amazon.com sellers in the US are preparing for product shortages due to shutdown factories in China and canceled cargo flights out of the country. More than 1 million Amazon sellers source products from Chinese retailers.

The outbreak killed more than 3,000 people and infected more than 90,000 people worldwide after spreading from China to 77 other countries and areas.