Cross-Border eCommerce has been growing really fast in China since 2010 due to the ease of taxation and foreign trade policies and China consumers’ increasingly growing appetite for foreign products. China’s cross-border e-commerce retail market reached 81.57 billion yuan (US$12.3 bn) in Q3 2017. *
According to a report published by Accenture/ AliResearch, sales from cross border marketplaces will hit $245 billion by 2020, making China the largest cross-border B2C market in the world.
There is no doubt about the business potential and lucrative market in China. However, facing more than a dozen Cross-Border marketplaces, it can be difficult to figure out which marketplace is the best to sell your products into China.
Although Tmall and JD are completely dominating China’s local e-commerce market, the cross-border e-commerce market is much more fragmented. If you take a look at the 2017 Q3 data, Tmall came second and JD came fourth in terms of market share.
2017 Q3 China Cross Border E-commerce Platform Market Share
(on the right column) Kaola, Tmall Global, VIP International, JD Worldwide, YMT, Little Red Book, Mia, Other
The biggest cross border marketplace – Kaola (https://www.kaola.com/) offers 3 models: wholesale buying, online marketplace and integration with merchant’s own website. In addition to the common categories (e.g. Fashion & Apparel, Jewellery & Accessories, Sports & Outdoors, Children’s Wear & Shoes, Home & Personal Care, Nutrition and Health Food, Digital Appliances, Maternity & Baby Products, Cosmetics), you can sell fresh food and produces on Kaola.
Being a proprietary trading platform, Kaola mainly purchase products from merchants. So if you want to go wholesale route or a speciality platform, Kaola is the one to consider. The application process is fairly straightforward as long as you have legitimate corporate entities and brand authorizations.
T-mall Global （also called T-mall International）currently does not accept application and is operated via invitation only. On the other hand, JD worldwide is still accepting application and the approval process can be much quicker if you are famous retailer or well-known brand.
JD has its own logistics company with one unify logistic system, making the shipping and delivery more efficient. If you have a healthy budget (at least $1M USD of investment for the first year), and want to push your products in front of 188 million active consumers, JD is the one you can’t really miss if you get your application approved.
Find the latest application requirement, go to http://www.jd.hk/rulePage/UdWcT8Xa.html
VIP.com is a flash sale website and China’s leading online discount retailer market for brands. VIP.com partners with popular and well-known brands by selling their excess inventory at discount prices. To qualify as a supplier, you need to either be a brand owner or a sole agent of a brand. For updated information, go to http://vis.vip.com/stipulate/
If you meet the requirements to be a supplier on VIP international, and are willing to sell your products at discounted price and faster pace, VIP is the one to consider providing your products are in one of the following categories: Cosmetics & Beauty, Maternity & Baby, Food & Nutrition, Home & Personal Care and Fashion & Apparel.
YMT (https://www.ymatou.com/) is the first established cross border market place and has a wider range of product categories including Appliance, Electric Appliance & Car Accessories, Home Products, Pets Products, Cosmetics, Sports & Outdoors, Bags & Suitcases, Watches & Jewelry, Health & Nutrition, Maternity & Baby, Apparels. The application requirement is lower comparing the marketplaces mentioned abouve. For detailed requirement go to https://staticontent.ymatou.com/html/merchant/index.html
If you can’t be approved by JD or Tmall, or your products are outside the usual fashion or cosmetics/beauty category, you can try YMT.
XiaoHongShu (Little Red Book, also known as RED) is a review and shopping app that provides users with a platform to review foreign products, and holiday advice/tips. The whole content of the platform is created by users which makes it more transparent and trust worthy. RED also has an E-Commerce platform for users to purchase products directly from the official brand stores in the same app.
80% of the users are under 30 years old and 90% are females**. The most popular products are cosmetics, beauty products, and nutrition supplements. If your products targeting young females, Red is definitely the one to consider. For the application process, go to https://www.xiaohongshu.com/partnership
Hopefully by the end of the blog, you have a good view of the top 5 cross border marketplaces in China. My ultimate advice is before committing to any marketplace, you need to spend time researching how popular your products are in China. WeChat Index, Baidu Index, Sogou, Daigou sales on Taobao are all good ways to find out product trends/popularity. Its also important to find a reliable local agent or partner to help you along the journey.