Top 8 e-commerce websites that help Brands sell in China

Top ecommerce websites in china
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    With over 600 million online shoppers and sales of over $1.93 trillion, China is the largest e-commerce market in the world. 

    That’s why cross-border e-commerce in China represents such a huge opportunity for international brands, offering access to the world’s most lucrative digital market. 

    But what are the best e-commerce platforms for international brands in China?

    In this guide, we’ll answer that question by breaking down the top e-commerce websites in China and how businesses can start selling on them.  

    So, let’s get started — here’s our list of Chinese e-commerce websites that every international brand needs to know about. 

    Top e-commerce website in China: #1 Taobao

    Owned by the Alibaba group, Taobao is the most popular e-commerce site in China. It’s the eighth-most visited website in the world, and was launched in May 2003.

    Since then, it has gone on to become the go-to for Chinese consumers on the hunt for a wide range of products, hence the name — which translates to ‘search for treasure’ in English!

    Further, Taobao is both B2C and C2C (like eBay), making it ideal for brands, small businesses, individual sellers and everything in between, hence it’s become the biggest Chinese marketplace. 

    Key Taobao statistics and facts

    Popular product categories on Taobao 

    Taobao is best for:

    • Clothing & apparel 
    • Food & beverage products
    • Smart technology
    • Mom & baby products
    • Health products & supplements
    • Sports equipment

    How international brands can get started on Taobao 

    To sell on Taobao, businesses need to be registered as a company in China. This requires a Chinese business license, office, and bank account — all of which can take around six months to put in place, and can be costly. 

    That said, setting up on Taobao is absolutely worthwhile, as it’s one of the top e-commerce websites in China. It’s also entirely fee-free, too, which is a major bonus for businesses watching their margins.

    Top e-commerce website in China: #2 Tmall (and Tmall Global) 

    Launched in 2008, Tmall (originally Taobao Mall) is Taobao’s partner site for B2C online retail. It sells higher-end products than Taobao, and is easier to access for international brands, thanks to its Tmall Global initiative. 

    Specifically, Tmall Global is a cross-border marketplace that makes it possible for non-Chinese businesses to sell to Chinese consumers. Check out our guide to learn more about this platform, and why it’s the best Chinese website for online shopping for international brands.

    Tmall also launched the Tmall Luxury Pavillion in 2017, which is the leading Chinese luxury e-commerce platform, selling over 180 premium brands. 

    Key Tmall statistics and facts

    Popular product categories on Tmall (and Tmall Global) 

    • Fashion and apparel products
    • Baby & maternity products
    • Cosmetics & skincare products
    • Electronics
    • Food & beverages
    • Vitamins & supplements 
    • Household Products & furniture

    How international brands can get started on Tmall (or Tmall Global)

    We’ve covered this in detail here, but here’s a quick breakdown: 

    • First, you’ll need to apply to open a store on Tmall, which will require all business documentation. The good news is that you don’t have to be based in China to sell on Tmall Global, so you won’t need a Chinese business license or bank account. 
    • After you’ve been approved, you’ll then have to set-up your Tmall store, which will include confirming your China online shopping international shipping arrangements. 
    • From start to finish, the whole process can take around 90 days and will include an upfront deposit of between $8-25,000, an annual fee of $5-10,000, and ongoing commission fees of up to 5% per sale. 

    Want to start selling on Tmall Global or JD Worldwide?

    AdChina.io is one of the easiest ways to advertise and drive traffic in China. Work with us to start selling on JD Worldwide or Tmall Global, and use our self-service platform to run campaigns and drive sales. Create a free account or book a demo with our sales team to get started.

    Top e-commerce website in China: #3 JD.com

    Next on our list of China online shopping sites is JD.com: Tmall’s closest competitor and the second-largest online B2C retailer in China. 

    Launched in 2008, JD.com is often referred to as China’s answer to Amazon, since it has its own logistics network and sells directly to consumers, unlike the Alibaba group. 

    Like Tmall, JD.com also has a platform for cross-border e-commerce, JD Worldwide, which connects international brands to Chinese consumers. 

    Key JD.com statistics and facts

    Popular product categories on JD.com are:

    • Electronics & home appliances
    • Automotive parts 
    • Food & beverages
    • Fashion & apparel
    • Digital products 
    • Cosmetics & personal care products

    For JD Worldwide specifically, beauty products, infant and mom products, and health supplements sell best

    How international brands can get started on JD.com 

    The best way for non-Chinese brands to sell on JD.com is via JD Worldwide.

    To get started, you’ll need to:

    • Contact a JD Worldwide Business Development Manager at worldwide@jd.com 
    • Provide the relevant documentation, outlined here
    • Wait for approval, which will take between 2-4 weeks
    • Pay the necessary fees (including a $15,000 deposit and $1,000 service fee)
    • Set up your JD Worldwide store and start selling

    Check out our guide to selling on JD Worldwide for a step-by-step breakdown of the application process. 

    Top e-commerce website in China: #4 XiaoHongshu

    Launched in 2013, XiaoHongshu (or ‘Little Red Book’) is an innovative social commerce platform that taps into China’s e-commerce trends by putting user reviews and influencer endorsements at the forefront.

    Put simply, the platform combines e-commerce with social media, encouraging its users to leave comments and reviews about ‘luxury goods’ (like make-up) sold in its RED Mall. 

    This model has proved hugely successful in China, where customer reviews and recommendations influence consumers more than in any other market in the world.

    Key XiaoHongshu statistics and facts

    Popular product categories on XiaoHongshu are:

    With a user-base dominated by young females, the most popular product category on XiaoHongshu is luxury goods. This includes:

    • Make-up products
    • Skincare products
    • Fashion products
    • Premium products 

    And, the most popular brands on XiaoHongshu include:

    • PerfectDiary
    • Lancome 
    • Innisfree 
    • Swisse 
    • L’Oréal
    • Mac Cosmetics

    How international brands can get started on XiaoHongshu

    We’ve covered this in detail here, but overall, start-up steps include:

    • Registering for an account on XiaoHongshu’s enterprise system
    • Providing all company details, including financial information
    • Signing a merchant contract, after the approval process
    • Paying all necessary fees, including a deposit of around $3,000
    • Completing your XiaoHongshu training 
    • Opening your store and importing products

    You’ll also need to open a brand account to engage with users and to promote your products with in-feed content. Check out our guide on XiaoHongshu for more details. 

    Top e-commerce website in China: #5 VIP.com

    Originally launched in 2008 as Vipshop, VIP.com has become China’s fifth-largest B2C e-commerce site. The website is the world’s biggest online discount retailer and offers great deals on luxury goods and high-end brands. 

    Much like Tmall and JD.com, VIP’s partner site VIP International (launched in 2014) connects Chinese consumers to international products — offering a direct route to market for overseas businesses. 

    Sell luxury products with a healthy margin? VIP could be the best China online shopping store for your brand. 

    Key VIP.com statistics and facts

    And, popular product categories on VIP.com are:

    • Beauty products
    • Skincare products
    • Jewellery
    • Fashion products
    • Nutrition & health products
    • Mom & infant products 

    How international brands can get started on VIP.com

    There is no direct application process to become a merchant on VIP.com. Instead, the platform usually contacts the brands it wants to work with. 

    That said, brands are encouraged to email global@vipshop.com to express an interest in selling on the site. In the email, you should including the following information: 

    • Your company name
    • Your position 
    • Company description 
    • Company website
    • Product category 

    Finally, to sell on VIP.com, brands need to be widely recognized and in-demand. 

    Top e-commerce website in China: #6 Pinduoduo

    Pinduoduo (which translates to ‘together, more savings, more fun’) is China’s fastest-growing e-commerce company with a twist. 

    Differing from its competitors, the Pinduoduo business model is based on ‘team buying’, where users can invite their friends to build a ‘shopping team’ to get a better price on a product. The bigger the shopping team, the lower price. 

    Moreover, Users can earn discounts (and even free products) by playing games and entering competitions on the platform. 

    In fact, this innovative and unique e-commerce model has made Pinduoduo one of the top e-commerce websites in China, thanks to viral success on Chinese social media. 

    Key Pinduoduo statistics and facts

    And, popular product categories on Pinduoduo are:

    • Fresh produce 
    • Clothing 
    • Household items 
    • Electronics 

    Pinduoduo is China’s largest online agricultural retailer, generating almost $20 billion of sales in the industry a year. 

    How international brands can get started on Pinduoduo 

    Setting up as a merchant on Pinduoduo is a relatively simple process. 

    First, you’ll need to:

    • Register for a seller account
    • Choose your store type 
    • Provide all business and financial information
    • Sign a merchant agreement 
    • Pay a deposit between $1500-7600, depending on your industry 

    Next, you’ll have to raise your profile in China if you want to generate sales on Pinduoduo. That’s because the platform works best for brands that have a social media presence in China, as it promotes social and ‘viral’ buying. 

    To raise your profile in China, you should:

    Click on the above links to learn more about increasing brand awareness in China. 

    Top e-commerce website in China: #7 Kaola 

    Alibaba-backed Kaola is the No.1 cross-border e-commerce platform in China. With warehouses across the globe, it offers arguably the easiest and most lucrative route to market for international brands looking to sell in China. 

    Key Kaola statistics and facts

    Next, the popular product categories on Kaola:

    • Health & wellness 
    • Food & snacks
    • Mom & baby 
    • Beauty cosmetics 
    • Personal care 
    • Home 
    • Clothing 
    • Electronics
    • Sports & outdoors

    Also, popular brands on Kaola include:

    • E-Mart
    • Nescafé
    • Evian
    • Heinz
    • Philips
    • Nescafe
    • LG
    • Costco

    How international brands can get started on Kaola

    To sell on Kaola, visit the company’s merchant website and fill out the form in the ‘global partner’ section. You can be a B2B supplier (selling directly to Kaola), set up your own shop-front on Kaola.com, or opt for a mixed set-up.

    Additionally, there are a number of fees involved when selling on Kaola: 

    • A deposit of between $10-15,000, depending on your industry 
    • Commission fees between 2-10%, depending on your product types 
    • A yearly membership fee of $1000 

    Top e-commerce website in China: #8 Suning

    Founded in 1990, Suning began as a brick-and-mortar electronics and home appliance store. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the top e-commerce websites in China. The website sells a wide range of products and retaining its reputation as an electronics retailer. 

    However, for international brands, Suning Global offers a direct route to Chinese consumers through its cross-border e-commerce model and integrated logistics network. 

    Key Suning statistics and facts

    Also, popular product categories on Suning are:

    Overall, the most popular products on Suning are electrical appliances and maternity products

    That said, the following product categories are also successful: 

    • Furniture 
    • Food 
    • Personal care
    • Media 

    How international brands can get started on Suning

    Suning offers two merchant models for international brands: 

    • Entry model, where brands can sell to consumers directly on Suning.com 
    • Procurement model, where Suning will buy products from overseas brands 

    In either model, businesses must contact Suning directly to open an enterprise account and sign the necessary contracts. Also, they must pay a deposit of $1000 and a $5-10,000 service fee. 

    Click here to visit the Suning Global merchant page for more information.

    Ready to launch on one of the top e-commerce websites in China? 

    Not only does AdChina.io help you open accounts on the top e-commerce websites in China, but we also fill out any paperwork needed and tick all the necessary boxes. 

    And finally, we’ll help you drive traffic to your store by advertising on the best advertising channels in China. Sign up for your free AdChina.io demo today to get started.

    Above all, you can get started without the hassle you might expect from marketing in China.

    AdChina.io has helped hundreds of brands reach the China market. To see how AdChina.io can help you get started with advertising on top channels hassle-free create a free account today.
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