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[FREE ebook] Online sales revolutionised: how to sell behind the Great Wall of China

China is one of the world’s largest economies with an extraordinary purchasing power and a growing population. Even though starting business relations there may be challenging, Western online merchants should not be put off by a high entry barrier.

In fact, making the effort to overcome this challenge can turn out to be a real deal maker for many European and American online sellers. Or a gateway to … the Promised Land of ecommerce.

Download our FREE ebook Made in China: Get ready for a REAL eCommerce revolution.

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But before you take interest in the emerging Chinese online marketplace …

… happy CNY!

So it’s the Chinese New Year (CNY) and we’d like you to celebrate a bit. Celebrate the fact that it’s the Year of the Dog! Those who take astrology very seriously suspect that people born under the sign of the dog can expect bad luck. So it’s crucial to keep calm and stay relaxed in the coming year.

In 2018, new industrial developments and projects should be successful. However, if new ventures are based on greed, they’re unlikely to come to fruition.

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Coming back to the Year of the Dog…

  • Lucky numbers? 3, 4, 9.
  • Lucky colours? Red, green and purple.
  • Unlucky numbers? 1, 6, 7.
  • Unlucky colours? Blue, white, golden.

Unfortunately we don’t know for sure whether the numbers and colours above will make or break your sales deal. However, we believe that good fortune will come your way. We’ll be more than happy to accompany you on your way to business success, sharing our ecommerce expertise.

Alibaba: ecommerce giant in China and beyond

Talking about forecasts, we simply can’t overlook the position of China in ecommerce. You must have heard that the Chinese ecommerce market is controlled by the giant Alibaba, the Far East equivalent of eBay and Amazon. But did you know that sales figures on Alibaba are higher than those of eBay and Amazon combined?

Sales figures on Alibaba are higher than those of eBay and Amazon combined

It is common knowledge that we are swamped by goods made in China. On top of that, the ecommerce winner among marketplaces is Alibaba. The brand itself may have to face the problem of low recognition in the West, but sales figures speak for themselves. Let’s address two questions first: Why is ecommerce in China booming and where does China buy from and sell to?

Why is ecommerce in China booming?

Among the factors contributing to the rise of the Chinese ecommerce empire are:

  • ‘Price wars’ among B2C platforms vying for market share
  • Increasing online presence among more traditional enterprises
  • Increasing online presence among online buyers.

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Where does China buy from and sell to?

Top 5 regions purchasing online from Chinese web shops (2013) :

  1. USA
  2. Hong Kong
  3. South Asia
  4. Japan
  5. Korea

Top 5 regions where Chinese buyers shop overseas (2013):

  1. USA
  2. Japan
  3. UK
  4. France
  5. New Zealand

These are the top 5 regions, but the fact is that Chinese goods are sold … everywhere.

China sells to Europe and America, but is it possible at all for American and European online sellers to sell in China?

It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all …

…aren’t cheap goods from China traded in Europe and the rest of the world?
And what’s the point of selling them back to where they were made in the first place?

The answer is:

YES, there is a big sales potential in China if you’re a European or American online seller. And NO, we’re not talking about selling the goods you imported from China…
…. well, back to .. China.

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So what to sell in China? Firstly, let’s highlight a few things:

  • The purchasing power there is enormous, creating the biggest source of the world’s international buyers.
  • There are younger, more affluent segments of population interested in Western brands and luxury products that are not easily available on the local market.
  • The middle-class is growing, driving cross-border sales.
  • Affluent Chinese consumers seem to prefer baby & nutrition products as well as meat, dairy products and alcoholic beverages imported from abroad rather than produced domestically, which ties in with a bigger trust in Western brands.
  • Growing opportunities in the fashion segment since more and more Chinese consumers are inspired by Western culture and brands. This is the potential that large Western brands can tap into.
  • Younger, wealthier parts of the population are interested in high-end brands, luxury goods from abroad, e.g. beauty products, jewellery or gems.

For more information, download our guidebook!

eCommerce in China

Many Chinese consumers are fascinated by Western culture and lifestyle, willing to buy foreign products, such as wine, food, cosmetics, luxury and fashion goods. There is also a belief that the quality of foreign goods may be much better than those produced locally, not to mention a wider choice abroad. This is where international ecommerce comes into play.

Knowing all the aforementioned facts…

… if you don’t sell in China yet … are you considering it now, wondering how to go about it? On top of researching the local market, culture and mindset, think about a channel of distribution for your goods. For instance, Alibaba offers a cross-border solution, enabling Western online merchants to sell directly to the Chinese shopper.

Alibaba and similar platforms are convenient options, yet bear in mind that they don’t seem too attractive financially. The reason is clear: There is too much competition, especially from local sellers. Hence, the current tendency for foreign sellers is to focus on alternatives, such as brand owned web shops and WeChat stores.

Take time to do proper research, think what you could offer to the Chinese buyer, position your shop on the local market and present yourself as a trusted online seller.

In China online shopping is simply hot

China becoming the next global consumption superpower is closer to reality than ever. Its private consumption is around 8% of the world’s total today. And this is just the beginning. Citizens are getting richer and the society is moving towards a more sophisticated consumerism, forming a real battleground for brands. Finally, China is the biggest consumer of smartphones, which again is a source of shopping opportunities.

For more about the characteristics of the Chinese consumer, check our article A good time to attract the Chinese buyer to your online shop.

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In a nutshell

The Year of the Dog should be an eventful time, also in financial terms. The Dog is a loyal, kind, honest and friendly animal so let yourself be inspired by its positive characteristics.

Thus, make wise decisions. This year should be perfect for starting or expanding your business. The Chinese marketplace may be one of a few possibilities. Study facts and try to evaluate the numbers and trends. To reiterate…

Private consumption in China is around 8% of the world’s total today. And the Chinese love Western brands so increase your online sales by catering to their tastes.

The world may be swamped by goods made in China, but also Chinese consumers need the world to do some trading in their own country.

Happy New Year: We wish you success with the global expansion of your online business!

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Made in China: Get ready for a REAL eCommerce revolution.

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