Chinese shoppers explain China’s mobile growth


Half of Chinese shopping online will be done on mobile devices this year. Yes, HALF.

As if Chinese ecommerce couldn’t undergo any more huge growth this year, eMarketer shared a new report a few days ago that proves the mobile movement in China is continuing.

This was one of the international statistics shared in a Lengow Blog report on mobile commerce (i.e. m-commerce) published just a few days ago. Previously, the rise of m-commerce in China was also explored in great detail. Tmall also made their first presentation ever at an ecommerce conference in France at the unforgettable Lengow Ecommerce Day in Paris and shared some key insights on how ecommerce in China works earlier this summer.

You always read reports about this historic growth in China (including in sectors other than retail ), but when’s the last time you got the perspectives of Chinese shoppers themselves?

There’s a first time for everything.

Buqing Wang (a native of Jinan and Qingdao in Shandong Province) and Qian Zhang (who is from Quzhou City in Zhejiang Province) are here to explain to Lengow Blog readers why shopping is so big in their country and share details on the latest trends which are driving the growth of online retail.

Both are members of the truly international Lengow team which has nearly 20 nationalities.

Their insight is essential when you consider that some of the biggest areas of growth have been outside of large cities like Beijing and Shanghai.


Wang explained that what’s hot in China right now is a wide range of international products which are currently being sold on popular sites like Tmall (previously analyzed in a Lengow Blog guide to selling in China:

“Nowadays, the big trend among Chinese merchants is importing foreign brands so that Chinese consumers can buy them online directly.
Among the favorite websites for Chinese e-shoppers, when it comes to products imported to China, the biggest are TmallGlobal, Taobao and JD,” said Wang.
She also compiled an excellent Top 10 list of the sites her fellow online shoppers in China buy from very often.
  1. Tmall Global (B2B site)
  2. Taobao (C2C site)
  3. JD (second largest marketplace in China; they don’t do business with manufacturers, only with brands)
  4. (a new general marketplace)
  5. (very similar to; also a marketplace)
  6. (a social commerce site, a mix of online shopping and social networking where shoppers can make recommendations to other shoppers)
  7. (a site specializing in fashion import into China; they import several foreign brands)
  8. Haituncun (Anoter marketplace for importing into China)
  9. (a new general marketplace which is a part of Tencent, a giant in China’s social networking scene often called the “Chinese MSN”)
10. Panli (a website for Chinese people who live in foreign anglophone countries and want to buy products from Chinese merchants despite the distance)

Portable Payments

Zhang also pointed out that the use of a smartphone isn’t just handy for shopping in China. Phones definitely go a long way; she explained that they are constantly used in various parts of the country.
“Chinese mobile shopping is currently a well-developed sector because it is multi-faceted. Especially when it comes to payments: when you eat at a restaurant or even call a cab, you can pay with your phone! Chinese logistics also are dependable, especially in provinces like Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai,” said Zhang.
“Normally, transport only takes three days. For JD, can make a delivery within 3 hours if buyers and sellers are in the same city.”

Top Tips

Zhang has some helpful advice for foreigners who want to be a part of the Chinese ecommerce community; including when it comes to social media marketing.

“If you’re a foreign company or brand that wants to enter the Chinese market, you need to create an account on WeChat (an popular social networking app) to do some marketing that will reach Chinese shoppers,” said Zhang.
“On another note, the well-known mobile shopping app Wish helps people who are not in China buy products made in China.”
When you consider all of the above, it’s no wonder why Lengow COO Nenad Cetkovic said a few weeks ago during his talk at the French Touch Conference in New York City that the future of online retail is in the Eastern part of the world.

Elias Jabbe

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