cross-border ecommerce china

8 lesser known e-Commerce platforms in China like Pinduoduo and Sunning that foreign companies can leverage

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Aside from famous players like Taobao, are there any other e-commerce platforms that international brands can leverage in China? The answer is yes!

China has the largest e-commerce market in the world and it is still growing. According to the China E-commerce Report, in 2017, the total value of Chinese online trading had reached 29,160 billion CNY, which occupied 40% of the global e-commerce market and up 11.7% compared with 2016. During the same period, the value of online retail reached 7,180 billion CNY in China, up 32.2% compared with 2016. More and more e-commerce platforms have been built in China to leverage the ever growing userbase, and beside big players like Tianmao (天猫), Taobao (淘宝) and JD (京东), mobile e-commerce platforms such as Pinduoduo (拼多多), Xiaohongshu (小红书), Kaola.com (网易考拉) are also popular among Chinese consumers. For international brands that want to enter the Chinese market by e-commerce, those online shopping platforms are another kind of important channels.

alternative ecommerce in china
Source: China E-commerce Report 2017

Pinduoduo (拼多多): The representative of online group shopping in China

Pinduoduo (拼多多) is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms among Chinese consumers. In 2015, Pinduoduo officially launched as a mobile e-commerce platform in China and became one of the fastest-growing online platforms for its new business model. According to the data from the official website of Pinduoduo, by the end of 2017, the users of Pinduoduo app have exceeded 0.3 billion.

Group shopping is the main purpose of Pinduoduo that attracted many Chinese customers online. On Pinduoduo, customers can choose group orders for all kinds of good, then buyers can achieve relatively low price. Based on group orders, the platform will make a large number of orders directly from manufacturers and get quantity discounts from them.

how to leverage pinduoduo in china

For international brands that want to open stores on Pinduoduo, there are some advantages and restrictions of the platform that should be noted:

pinduoduo restrictions in china


Kaola.com (网易考拉): The leading integrated e-commerce platform in China

Kaola.com (网易考拉) is the leader among online cross-border retail platforms in China. In January 2015, Kaola.com officially launched as a cross-border e-commerce platform by NetEase. The business model of Kaolao.com is direct purchasing with self-operated, or operated by third-party merchants on the platform. According to our findings based on research from “iiMedia Research” (艾媒咨询), in 2017, Kaola.com held the largest market share (25.8%) of China’s cross-border e-commerce platforms. In 2016, the platform was ranked first in the survey on users’ satisfaction of China cross-border e-commerce self-operating platforms. In 2018 Q1, Kaola.com kept the largest market share (26%) among China’s cross-border e-commerce platforms.

cross-border ecommerce in China
Source: 2018 Q1 China cross-border e-commerce monitoring report

how to leverage kaola in chinaFor international brands that want to enter China through e-commerce platforms, Kaolao.com has obvious advantages and a few restrictions:

netease kaola ecommerce


Xiaohongshu (小红书): The combination of online shopping and life-sharing community

Xiaohongshu(小红书) has become one of the most important online shopping platforms in China by combining life-sharing community and shopping. The platform was launched in 2013 and achieved the first position in the App store list of China in 2015. By the end of October 2017, the number of the platform’s users already exceeded 70 million.

For most users in China, Xiaohongshu is not only a shopping platform but also a social platform. On the platform, users can introduce any product by using photos and communicate with other users through comments. By using the community to share the purchase and use experience, Xiaohongshu attracted many female buyers who want to satisfy vanity and get suggestions about some products.

xiaohongshu ecommerce

Xiaohongshu users
Source: Detailed analysis: Why Xiaohongshu is so popular

For international brands that want to open stores on Xiaohongshu, some advantages and restrictions of the platform should be known:

xiaohongshu ecommerce restrictions


VIP.com (唯品会): The largest flash sale site in China and the whole world 

VIP.com (唯品会) is the biggest online flash sale platform with almost 10 years of history in China. The platform has pioneered the online discount retail model in China and had 57.8 million active users during the whole year of 2017. At the same time, the repurchase rate reached 84% on VIP.com. In the 2018 Q1 China cross-border e-commerce monitoring report, VIP.com took 12% market share of cross-border e-commerce platforms in China, which was the No.4 among all platforms. Besides, based on the data from the official website of VIP.com, the platform already owned 13,000 well-known domestic and global vendors and suppliers.

VIP.com ecommerce
Source: VIP.com Q4 financial report

how to leverage VIP.com in china

For international brands that want to become one of the platform’s partners, it’s helpful to understand some advantages and restrictions from VIP.com:

vip.com restrictions in china


Suning.com (苏宁易购): The comprehensive B2C online shopping platform in China

Suning.com (苏宁易购) is one of the leading platforms in the area of China’s B2C shopping. In 2017, the net income of Suning.com was 4.21 billion CNY, up 236.52% compared with 2016. During the same year, the number of registered users reached 0.345 billion on Suning.com.

how to leverage sunning.com in china

For international brands that want to open stores on Sunung.com, it is necessary to understand its advantages and restrictions:

sunning ecommerce restrictions


Juanpi.com (卷皮网): One of China’s most popular online discount shopping platforms

Juanpi.com (卷皮网) is the first domestic e-commerce platform that focuses on par goods market in China. Through its unique model of “Par retail” (平价零售), Juanpi.com has become one of the largest unlisted e-commerce platforms in China. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of platform’s users has exceeded 100 million and 80% of them are female. On Juanpi.com, a lower price is the main point that attracts Chinese consumers, the average price of every product is around 100 CNY and 50% products come from small and medium brands.

how to leverage juanpi.com in china

For international brands that want to open stores on Juanpi.com, it is necessary to understand its advantages and restrictions:

juanpi.com restrictions in china


DangDang.com (当当网): China’s first B2C E-mall that fully based on online business and listed in the USA

DangDang.com (当当网) is one of the oldest e-commerce platforms launched in 1999. The platform starts as an online bookselling website and achieved 35.1% of China’s online book retail market in 2017. Now, Dangdang.com already expanded its business from books to all kinds of products. Among them, the main business focuses on books, Maternity & Baby, Beauty Cosmetics and home textiles. During 2017, the net revenue of DangDang.com was around 0.36 billion CNY.

how to leverage dangdang.com in china

For international brands that want to open stores on DangDang.com, there are some advantages and restrictions of the platform should be noticed:

dangdang.com restrictions in china


Mia.com (蜜芽): China’s first online flash sale platform for imported Maternity & Baby brands

Mia.com (蜜芽) is the largest e-commerce platform that sells imported maternity & baby products in China. Now, according to the data from the official website of Mia.com, there are 1300 brands built cooperation with Mia.com and the users of the platform exceeded 30 million. On the platform, 70% of products are imported from foreign countries. In the list of 2016 users’ satisfaction for China’s cross-border import e-commerce, Mia.com was ranked first among all competitors.

how to leverage mia.com in china

For international brands that want to become one of the partners of Mia.com, it’s helpful to understand some advantages and restrictions:

mia.com restrictions


China’s e-commerce platforms are good options for international brands

China’s e-commerce platform started from 1999, but there were few platforms became popular among Chinese people. Now, after 20 years of development, China owned a large number of e-commerce platforms that can be divided into different types like B2B, online retail, life services, cross-border and etc. For international brands that want to enter China through e-commerce platforms, through the comparison of following platforms, it is helpful to make a better option.

cross-border ecommerce in china


Daxue Consulting can help get your products into the Chinese market

China accounts for 40% of the world’s online sales. As more and more Chinese are logging into e-commerce platforms, e-commerce is central to a China market entry.

If you want to know more about China market strategy, do not hesitate to contact us at dx@daxueconsulting.com

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