More Chinese consumers are buying online every day. It’s obvious that the numbers are fueled by wage rises and a thirst for newly available goods. Why should we take notice of Chinese cross-border e-commerce? There are a few factors that you may not have considered. How should you respond in your business?
Why Should China Wait?
Release dates can be irritating when you live in China. Frequently cinema releases are later than in other countries, and unhappily, China used to be way down the pecking order for new iPhone release dates from Apple, despite the handsets being produced inside the PRC. This has given rise to Chinese consumers looking to take advantage of cross-border e-commerce to get products as soon as they are available globally.
In addition, the level of fake goods being made and sold inside China means that local consumers prefer foreign brands and supply chains due to a trust in tighter quality control and customer service. This is a huge plus for your store outside China selling to the PRC.
The Impressive Numbers
It doesn’t take a genius to know that China is growing quickly, and so is the value of it’s e-commerce market. In 2015 Chinese cross-border e-commerce hit roughly 259 billion RMB (around $40 billion) – this accounted for over 6% of the countries total online purchases. The more impressive news is that the figure is set to grow by 50% annually – despite China’s slowdown.
China’s biggest online retail platform T-Mall has opened T-Mall Global in order to respond to this wave of demand. In addition, Amazon is now a solid player in the market. As we all know, once bigger names have established trust in the game, it makes it easier for the rest of us to play – so now is an exciting time for small and medium sized businesses.
Government Support For Cross-Border
Great changes here. The Chinese government was getting irritated by the large number of grey imports from abroad (e.g. tourists bringing back cut-price iPhones from the U.S. to re-sell). In order to stem this, it has created a cut-price import tariff for a list of personal items coming into China.
Now, there are established trade zones that qualify for this new tariff in 8 Chinese cities. This number will rise. An additional knock-on effect has been the increased speed of clearance through customs, as well as an improvement on logistics times.
How Can I Respond In My Business?
If you’re considering entering the Chinese e-commerce market then there are quite a few things to consider. The way China operates online is certainly not the same as in the U.S. or Europe for example.
SEO is different, social media is different, and selling platforms are different. There is a lot to consider, depending on your industry and what you are selling.
From here, if you’re thinking about making a start, then you should start thinking about:
- A China facing website
- A WeChat shop
- A marketing strategy for your China facing store
If you’re not familiar with how selling online in China works, then send us your questions! At Eggplant Digital we’ve been helping people get online in the PRC for over 8 years. If there’s anything you need to know, we want to help! Drop us an e-mail with your question -really….