The Most Frequently
Asked Questions

About E-Commerce and Marketing in China

China is the largest e-commerce market globally, generating almost 50 percent of the world’s transactions.

Greater China is the largest market for eCommerce, with a predicted revenue of US$1,487,233.0 million by 2023, placing it ahead of the United States. Payment is expected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 12.4%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$2,374,985.2 million by 2027.

China’s most popular e-commerce platforms include Alibaba Group’s Tmall and Taobao,, Douyin (Tiktok), and Pinduoduo.

Chinese consumers shop online for a wide range of products, with preferences for mobile shopping, social media, and live streaming.

Cross-border e-commerce refers to online sales between businesses and consumers in different countries. CBEC in China enables Chinese consumers to buy products from overseas brands through online platforms.

The Chinese government has specific regulations and policies for cross-border e-commerce, including tax exemptions and import restrictions.

Popular destinations for Chinese cross-border shoppers include Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. However, consumer preferences and trends may vary depending on product category, price, and availability.

Cross-border e-commerce can provide businesses access to a large and growing Chinese consumer market with no need for local compliance or regulation, No need for local company registration or local trademark, payment is through foreign currency instead of RMB, and there’s a seamless turnkey logistic solution.

Most international brands ship their goods to a Chinese bonded warehouse under the supervision of Customs. After customers place orders, the goods are cleared through customs and delivered to the consumer via express delivery from the warehouse.

There are several challenges and risks associated with cross-border e-commerce in China, including:

1. Regulatory compliance: Cross-border e-commerce is subject to various regulations and policies in China, such as import and customs regulations, tax policies, and product safety standards. Businesses must comply with these regulations to avoid penalties and legal issues.
2. Currency exchange: Cross-border e-commerce involves transactions in different currencies, subject to exchange rate fluctuations and other currency-related risks.
3. Logistics and Shipping: Businesses must handle shipping and customs clearance for cross-border e-commerce in China, which can be complex and time-consuming. Delays or mistakes in logistics can lead to unhappy customers and lost sales. Or use bonded warehouses that help to streamline the customs clearance process, ultimately leading to a better customer experience.
4. Fraud and counterfeit products: The risk of fraud and counterfeit products is a concern for businesses and consumers in cross-border e-commerce transactions. Companies must ensure their products’ authenticity and quality to avoid reputation damage and legal issues.
5. Language and cultural barriers: Businesses must navigate language and cultural differences when entering the Chinese market, which can require specialized expertise and resources.
6. Consumer preferences and competition: Chinese consumers have specific tastes and expectations for e-commerce experiences and products. Businesses must understand and meet these preferences while competing with other domestic and international sellers in the market.

Businesses can use cross-border payment platforms and currency exchange services to facilitate transactions with Chinese consumers.

Recent trends in Chinese e-commerce and cross-border include the rise of live-streaming shopping and increased focus on sustainability and social responsibility.

E-commerce penetration has reached nearly 30% of retail sales and 6% of GDP. This is much higher than in North America, where penetration has only recently exceeded 20% of retail sales and 3% of GDP.

Today, the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba is considered the largest e-commerce retailer in China based on yearly revenue sales.

In 2021, China contributed to more than half of the world’s e-commerce retail sales, with the sales value surpassing the combined total of Europe and the United States. Today, China has the world’s most significant digital buyer population, amounting to more than 780 million people.

Alibaba controls over 50% of China’s e-commerce market. The Alibaba Group owns multiple e-commerce sites: Taobao Marketplace and are Alibaba’s largest sites targeted at Chinese consumers.

Merchants on Tmall are usually more prominent Chinese brands and F500 international brands with established offices in Mainland China. On the other hand, merchants on Tmall Global are companies with corporate entities outside of China that sell imported products.

Tmall is China’s largest domestic eCommerce platform, with over 500 Million registered customers and 50,000 international and Chinese merchants.

The main difference between Tmall and Taobao is that Taobao offers both C2C and B2C sales, while Tmall is exclusively focused on B2C. Tmall differentiates its merchant listings, brand owners, or authorized distributors from Taobao’s C2C merchants.

The Alibaba Group is the corporation that runs numerous e-commerce platforms, including, Taobao Marketplace, and Tmall.

1. Register your company on Tmall Global.

2. Open a Store and create beautifully designed pages.

3. Advertise on Tmall via PPC on Taobao & Tmall search engine.

4. Marketing to your social media to drive traffic (Weibo mainly)

5. KOL- Use Chinese Key Opinion Leaders to promote your Products.

In China’s eCommerce market, Tmall (owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.) is the largest online platform. Tmall has over 800 million buyers and over 150,000 merchants. As Asia’s largest B2C retail platform, businesses can sell directly to millions of customers throughout China.

Notably, Tmall accounts for 51% of the total B2C transactions in China. The platform has over 800 million monthly active users, buying from over 180,000 international brands, such as Zara, Dior, Dyson, Chanel, and many more.

Tmall is exclusively open to China-registered brands but has a global version, “Tmall Global,” that enables foreign merchants and international brands to sell directly to consumers in China.

Weibo is a public network for sharing information, while WeChat is more like a personal network; these two social interaction platforms are fundamentally different.

In 2022, there were around 1.02 million social media users in China.

WeChat. WeChat is China’s must-have social commerce platform, with over 1.2 billion monthly active users. Chinese users spend an average of over 70 minutes a day within the app.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messagingsocial media, and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. First released in 2011, it became the world’s largest standalone mobile app in 2018, with over 1 billion monthly active users.

In December 2022, Weibo Corporation reported having 252 million daily active users, up around three million from the corresponding quarter in the previous year. The microblogging company is one of China’s top social networking platforms, with about 586 million monthly active users.

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