E-Commerce is on the rise in China
As digital-savvy consumers emerge, Chinese E-Commerce platforms have developed a range of new retail technologies. The following slides offer a brief overview of five important platforms and their distinctive features.
The Mecca of Online Shopping
Taobao is a consumer-to-consumer e-commerce platform that allows individuals, retailers, and wholesalers to list freely and sell almost everything directly to buyers, from electronics and fashion to home and garden products, from sports and toys to cars and vehicles. Taobao follows a model that is similar to its American counterpart eBay as a marketplace where goods can be sold with a fixed or negotiated price, or by auction.
Premium Version of Taobao
Tmall is a leading business-to-consumer retail platform that allows multiple local Chinese and international brands to sell their products to consumers online. Launched in 2008 by Alibaba Group’s Taobao as Taobao Mall, Tmall sells a broad range of products including fashion, clothing and shoes, cosmetics, jewelry, home and baby products, and packaged foods in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Leader in Cross Border eCommerce
Kaola focused on cross-border e-commerce, similar to JD International and Tmall Global but with less registered users (currently around 30 million active users but expected to increase). Kaola is cheaper than the aforementioned two platforms in terms of set-up costs and is more directly focused on F&B, making it an interesting alternative for players in, e.g., health supplements, snacks, and mother & baby.
The Omnichannel Platform
Suning.com is a chain of department stores providing electronic products and home appliances, general merchandise, household commodities, cosmetics, and baby care products, or even car parts and financial services. Founded in 1996 as Suning Commerce Group Co., Ltd, it operates more than 1,600 stores in China, Hong Kong, and Japan, and has now renamed to Suning.com Ltd to embody its expansion to e-commerce.
Rural Community E-Commerce
Pinduoduo has built significant traction over the past 2 years, focusing primarily on lower-tier cities and rural areas. It connects farmers directly with buyers and manages to offer low prices through a group-buying business model. For premium products, it is not commonly used.