Since China’s new eCommerce Law went into effect in 2019, all the major cross-border eCommerce platforms have finished their transition to full compliance, and the China market is open, more than ever, to foreign brands wanting to sell cross-border. The market now adheres to a strong set of standards, and is more organized and structured than in previous years. Now perhaps more than ever, cross-border platforms represent an especially competitive way for foreign brands to sell to China.
So how should brands choose between the many different platforms that cater to cross-border selling in China? To answer that, in this article we list the top 5 Chinese cross-border eCommerce platforms in 2021.
*Website rankings come from Alexa Website Rankings
#1 JD Worldwide
Global website ranking: 1888
Never one to let Alibaba snap up an eCommerce space without competing for a slice for themselves, JD set up JD Worldwide to compete in the cross-border market. Launched in 2015, JD Worldwide has succeeded by leveraging its large existing user base on JD.com. Impressively, the platform features almost 10 million SKUs from nearly 20,000 brands. Product categories run the gamut from nutrition and healthcare to home appliances and car-related items.
JD Worldwide is divided into multiple national and regional ‘pavilions’. The global cross-border eCommerce platform currently has a strong exports focus. To facilitate this approach, it has established presences in Russia and Indonesia to support export merchants there.
*For more information on how to enter China’s market through JD Global, you can check out our JD Guide.
Global website ranking: 2680
VIP Shop is China’s leading flash-sale eCommerce platform, and this sales model largely carries over to its cross-border arm. The platform boasts 10 front-end warehouses, 9 proprietary overseas warehouses, and 4 third-party-operated warehouses. VIP International ensures 100% authenticity for products sold on the platform. The platform is self-operated by VIP Shop, and uses direct overseas procurement alongside its own wing of delivery partners. Because of this, it is able to deliver goods from its bonded warehouses within 12 hours.
Due to the popularity of its discount-driven sales model, VIP International has seen similar success to its domestic business.
Global website ranking: 2784
Founded in 2013, Xiaohongshu is the most prominent in a wave of eCommerce platforms with a social-media slant. The platform boasts more than 300 million users, of whom 70% were born in the 90s or later.
Initially, Xiaohongshu wasn’t a platform for selling products but reviewing them. Therefore the site earned a reputation for providing insightful customer-written product reviews and impressions. Early on, Xiaohongshu found a niche by offering a space for consumers to share their impressions of products available to them when traveling for business, pleasure, or the express purpose of making purchases. Eventually the platform leveraged this reputation and strong userbase and transformed into a trusted selling platform. And its earlier reputation associated with foreign product expertise has further solidified consumer trust in its cross-border offerings.
*For more information on Xiaohongshu’s rise to prominence, you can check out our article here.
#4 Tmall Global
Global website ranking: 4417
According to Tmall Global’s website, the platform only cooperates with overseas companies that have physical presences abroad. Therefore it is not open to purely domestic mainland companies. This means that customers know what they’re getting on Tmall Global – direct access to foreign brands and their catalogs.
According to the platform, “In order to meet customers’ increasing demands for quality goods, and their increasing spending power, Tmall Global has positioned itself to cater to China’s high-end consumer base and is working with the world’s premium brands. Any businesses selling from the mainland must be a registered foreign company operating in China, with an overseas registered trademark, overseas retail qualifications, and a stellar reputation and business standing abroad.”
*For more information on how to enter China’s market through Tmall, you can check out our Tmall Global Guide.
Global website ranking: 23882
YMatou, or Yangmatou, was established in 2009, is a marketplace that primarily uses a C2C and M2C model. The platform mainly engages in cross-border eCommerce and special sales for overseas brands. Their mobile APP is known for having the first “Product Live Broadcast” functionality, as well as their “Ju Yang Huo” channel which compiles well-known brand suppliers from all over the world for group-buying purposes.
YMatou is also responsible for establishing its own cross-border logistics network called Bei Hai International, which now consists of 10 major logistics warehousing centers overseas (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Melbourne, Frankfurt, Tokyo, London, Sydney, Paris). Bei Hai International also has partnerships with many airlines, ensuring fast and reliable courier services for domestic buyers receiving international goods.
Forging Your Own Path
The above five are the most successful Chinese cross-border eCommerce platforms as of 2021. These all represent exciting opportunities for companies wishing to sell their goods cross-border to China. However, with the popularity of such platforms, it’s also very possible for your products to get lost among the huge variety of available goods there. Especially for companies in niche or specialized areas!
For companies wanting a bit more control over product presentation, promotion, and performance, a tantalizing option can be to set up one’s own specialized platform. This does mean doing more of your own research, but consulting with experienced platform providers can provide a short-cut to expertise.
TMO Group has considerable experience and expertise in this area, and has successfully guided multiple major brands to cross-border eCommerce success in China. If you’re interested in seeing what TMO can do for you and your brand, check out our solutions page or get in touch with us!