So you want to go to China, without ‘actually’ going to China. You’d love to access the near-billion customers you envision salivating in wait for your products, but building a local office there seems like a risky and resource-consuming venture. And you don’t exactly speak fluent Mandarin. Ok fine, option #2 is going in digitally, which is exactly what you should do. Level up young grasshopper. But before you go diving off that cliff, let’s quickly take a look at how and with whom you should enter with. Digitally speaking of course.
Rocking it in 1st place by a healthy margin is Tmall, the largest online marketplace in China. Tmall Global was launched by Alibaba in 2014 as site dedicated for business entities located outside China to be able to sell their wares directly to the Chinese consumer. Today, Tmall has a more than 50% market share of B2C ecommerce in China. The ecommerce platform provides the infrastructure needed for you to place your products in front of millions of online shoppers. The international platform provides genuine products that are produced or sold in overseas markets. In addition, the platform offers a direct delivery service. Merchants on the platform also offer Chinese language customer service through Alibaba’s instant messaging platform Alitalk, as well as 72-hour shipping, and product return facilities in Mainland China. Retailers that operate on the platform have to pay a standard annual fee of $5,000USD – $10,000USD.
Also known as Jingdong Mall but formerly known as 360buy, “JD” is the second largest ecommerce platform in China. It started as an online marketplace for electronics and over time began to accept retailers from other industries. Today, JD has more that 133 million visits to their website with over 20% market share of B2C ecommerce in China. JD positions itself as a marketplace for authentic and high-end products. It states that it offers an outstanding online shopping experience as well as has the largest fulfillment infrastructure in China. JD Worldwide, an international division of the platform, allows retailers to sell directly to the Chinese online community without physical presence in China. Retailers that operate on the platform have to pay a standard annual fee of 6000 RMB.
While Tmall and JD eat up a good 80% of the market share there are many other small players in the Chinese B2C market that do deserve your attention and should not be overlooked. VIP, Yixun, Suning, YHD and many others are small platforms that offer similar services as Tmall and JD. These types of platforms could be beneficial for companies who want to target a particular subset of consumer.
Beijing-based Web Presence In China (WPIC) is an independent, full service digital marketing and IT development agency. WPIC helps businesses setup and manage eCommerce customized platforms and storefronts. Having over 13 years of on the ground experience in the China digital sector, the firm has worked with over 300 global companies and leads a team of 120 people between their global offices. WPIC supports China and the greater APAC region in digital and IT solutions.