How to Sell Products On-Line in China

resizedimage500358-china3-logoBy the end of 2013, China leads all the rest of the countries in B2C and C2C purchases. According to, China’s ecommerce market is expected to reach $274.5 Billion in spending in 2014. Among which, $51.62 billion spent via mobile commerce. Alibaba, the parent company of T-mall and Taobao sold total value of merchandise was more than both of Ebay and Amazon combined. By 2016, Alibaba expects to pass Wal-Mart as the number one retail network in the world.

1. Selling through Domestic Online Platform

Alibaba’s Taobao (淘宝网) — Taobao is a C2C site like Ebay, and was created by Alibaba in 2003 in Hangzhou, China. The benefit to become a seller on Taobao is low entry fee. Seller is not required to obtain business licenses or deposits to open a store. Any individuals with valid ID and a phone number can register and start to sell new or used products. Because of its lower requirement being a seller, counterfeit products are the main concern from consumers. A lot of time, what you see on the product web page is not what you get in the mail. Nevertheless, for imported products that are not be able to register in China, it adds to the convenience to purchase through this channel.

Alibaba’s T-mall (天猫) – T-mall was created as a B2C site. It requires seller to provide business licenses during registration. Sellers have to pay deposit for each category of the product they are selling. Tmall earns a commission for each transaction. Sellers avoid ICP licenses (an online e-commerce license issued by government) to sell on line by paying T-mall transaction fees and deposits.

Other Online Platform including Amazon China, , Suning(苏宁), Yihaodian(一号店) are playing in their niche market.

While social media platform Wechat plays major role in product promotion, Taobao announced Feb 2014 that it will shut down Wechat’s API payment gateway. In July 2013, Taobao blocked WeChat’s interface, while WeChat also blocked Taobao buyers’ ads files. The situation is such that blocking each other’s operations has become a norm for firms in China’s internet industry.

2. Sell products through your official website commerce.

Even though you can sell your products through US website and deliver your products to China. You are facing long delivery time and high shipping charges. Language barrier and lack of local customer support is another major factor that will affect your sales. Regardless, Crate and Barrel, Nordstrome, Macy’s currently deliver products internationally.

For more details regarding product distribution online in China, please contact us.