How Can Foreign Companies Sell Online in China?

The online consumer market is taking off faster than anyone can seem to catch up to it. As accessibility to the online global market becomes easier, new business entities form and new niche markets emerge, with buyers and sellers on both sides of sovereign borders enjoying instant transactions of coveted foreign goods. Nowhere in the world is this dynamic more prominent than in China. Chinese e-commerce has been growing at a substantial rate, with sales in 2017 totaling $1.2 trillion USD, up 32 percent from the previous year, with projections of growth of up to 30 percent in subsequent years. This means that there is a number of great opportunities to sell to China online. But breaking through the Chinese market can be tricky, so here are some ways that foreign companies can sell to China online.



Know the Market


Being the world’s reigning e-commerce supergiant, China’s market is considerably more competitive than that of even the United States. Therefore, it is important to research other competitors for your product, and to determine the costs of entry. Conducting market research and analyses is crucial to completing a business plan. Finally, before you sell to China online, make sure you have any relevant licenses.



Know the Customer Base


Chinese consumers are very savvy, and they have a reputation for being very particular. In the Chinese e-commerce market, it is not uncommon for consumers to browse quickly, especially since the market is so vast and search engines like Baidu provide instant results. Any content you use to sell to China online must be meticulous in its detail. Do not, for instance, simply translate your website into Chinese. Much of it will be lost in translation, which is culturally offputting and a guarantee that your customers will search elsewhere.



Establish a Network


Not all businesses in China are cutthroat competitors. In fact, there are many very important connections that you can make to help give you a valuable edge to sell to China online. Frequent Chinese business forums and submit to attend at trade exhibitions in China. This is a good way to recruit domestic Chinese distributors for your product. This is also a good way to make a first face-to-face impression, with an opportunity to showcase your product and offer brochures and samples.



Sell on Chinese e-Platforms (e.g. Tmall, JD, Taobao)


Perhaps one of the most well-known facts about the Chinese government is that they are very particular about online content control. Many searches on Google, Facebook, and YouTube are prone to being censored, and standalone foreign sites may take a long time to load, prompting your potential client to click elsewhere. This is why, to sell to China online, you need a recognized platform.


Popular American platforms like Amazon and Ebay are easily accessible by Chinese consumers. You can also get a leg up on the market by hosting your sales on Chinese e-platforms. For instance, taobao is where Millennials and younger cohorts typically do their shopping. The most popular e-commerce platform in China, however, and therefore the best means to sell to China online, is Tmall, which accounts for the majority of the Chinese e-commerce market.





Wanting to sell to China online can be a difficult undertaking, but the process can be made easier with e-commerce services. For information on how to market and sell to China online, visit Westwin.


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