The Land of The Giants


China has the most important ecommerce market on this planet – by far – in addition to the world’s second-largest financial system. Chinese language on-line retail gross sales in 2019 have been $1,935 billion, greater than 3 times bigger than the US.

China’s ecommerce market is even bigger than the remainder of the world mixed, representing 55% of world on-line retail gross sales. On-line retail in China makes up 20.7% of complete retail gross sales, in comparison with 11.3% within the US.

The foremost ecommerce gamers in China are all home firms: Alibaba, and Pinduoduo. Collectively, their marketplaces dominate ecommerce in China with a mixed market share of 89.4%.

In terms of on-line retail, China is actually in a league of its personal.

The most important on-line marketplaces in China

Alibaba (the proprietor of Taobao and Tmall), alongside and Pinduoduo, dominate ecommerce in China.

Common order values fluctuate significantly for the highest marketplaces. Taobao and Pinduoduo have low order values from cut price searching and group shopping for, whereas Tmall has excessive order values from its gross sales of real branded merchandise. Which means the visitors ranges above don’t correlate carefully with gross sales.

After we take a look at the highest marketplaces’ share of gross sales as an alternative of visitors, Tmall has 50.1% of ecommerce gross sales in China, has 26.51% and Pinduoduo has 12.8%. This works out as $969 billion in GMV for Tmall, $513 billion for and $248 billion for Pinduoduo in 2019.

To place this in perspective, complete on-line retail gross sales for the US in 2019 have been $587 billion. Tmall by itself is 65% bigger than the entire of US ecommerce mixed. by itself is sort of on par with complete US ecommerce.

Evaluating China’s on-line marketplaces with Amazon, Tmall’s estimated GMV of $969 billion is sort of 3 times Amazon’s GMV (round $335 billion) and’s GMV of $513 billion is over 50% greater than Amazon’s.

After all, China is probably the most populous nation on this planet, with greater than 4 instances the inhabitants of the US. However it’s also a a lot poorer nation, with buying energy per capita of solely $21,000 versus $67,000 within the US. China additionally has a lot decrease web penetration at 63% in comparison with 96% within the US. This makes the scale of the net retail market in China all of the extra outstanding.

Amazon seems to be a big participant in China from the visitors information above, however the 114.5 million month-to-month visits complete doesn’t present the entire story. This complete contains visitors from China to Amazon web sites globally, not simply to the native Amazon web site. The month-to-month Chinese language visitors for is definitely 23.4 million. There are 56.5 million visits from China to, and 14.1 million to All of those visits are included within the complete for Amazon.

In China, cellular procuring accounts for over 80% of complete on-line procuring, and apps are extra closely used than web sites. App utilization is just not mirrored within the visitors information above, so complete month-to-month utilization for every of those marketplaces will probably be increased than said.

Tmall and Taobao in China

Tmall and Taobao

Tmall and Taobao are owned by Chinese language web conglomerate Alibaba. They’re two separate marketplaces, however carefully linked. Advertising and marketing promotions on Tmall will typically hyperlink to Taobao, and vice versa.


Taobao was initially based in 2003, following the eBay mannequin of a consumer-to-consumer market. This adopted eBay’s enlargement into China in 2003, after they acquired China’s main on-line public sale firm Eachnet. Taobao was created to compete with eBay in China, and rapidly turned the market chief. Quickly after, eBay shut down its web site in China.

Like eBay, Taobao has now moved away from auctions and is now largely a fixed-price market for brand spanking new mass-manufactured merchandise. Though it’s typically nonetheless described as a C2C (consumer-to-consumer) web site, Taobao sellers are usually small companies.

Taobao does, nevertheless, have low limitations to entry for Chinese language people and companies who need to register as sellers on the positioning. It’s recognized for promoting Chinese language-made shopper items together with electronics, garments and equipment on the low finish of the market. Counterfeiting has been rife on Taobao, however Alibaba has been working to cut back this. Solely Chinese language people and firms registered in China can promote on Taobao.


Tmall was launched in 2008. Initially named Taobao Mall, it was a spin-off from Taobao the place solely licensed companies can commerce, with a give attention to real branded items. Whereas Taobao sells low-cost Chinese language-made merchandise to extraordinary customers, Tmall sells costlier merchandise from native and worldwide manufacturers to China’s quickly increasing center class.

Like Taobao, solely Chinese language companies can promote on Tmall. Charges are excessive and embrace a big deposit to assist forestall retailers who promote pretend items or have poor service ranges from getting into the market.

Nonetheless, Tmall has a program known as Tmall World to assist overseas manufacturers promote their merchandise on {the marketplace}. It doesn’t require the vendor to have an organization or checking account in China, or to retailer their stock inside China.

With Tmall World, merchandise will be shipped immediately from overseas or saved in bonded warehouses in free commerce zones, permitting sooner transport and customs clearance. Tmall World charges are even increased than Tmall’s customary charges, to supply extra safety towards counterfeit merchandise.

Lots of the world’s finest recognized manufacturers have shops on Tmall World, together with Uniqlo, Adidas, Nike, Costco and even Walmart and Amazon. in China is commonly described merely because the quantity two ecommerce firm in China, after Alibaba. That is true, however it’s not correct to check to the quantity two ecommerce firm in different nations, reminiscent of eBay within the US and UK. As talked about earlier, has 26.51% of the Chinese language on-line retail market, which is round $513 billion in annual GMV – nearly as a lot as all ecommerce gross sales within the US mixed, and much forward of Amazon.

The corporate behind, initially known as Jingdong, was based in 1998, and began promoting electronics as a web based retailer in 2004. Through the years it expanded to different product classes and adopted a market mannequin, altering its web site to in 2013. The enterprise has plenty of massive exterior traders together with Chinese language web conglomerate Tencent and US retailer Walmart. is thought for its in depth logistics community with 28 “smart” achievement facilities and 750 warehouses throughout China. Round 90% of orders are delivered the identical or subsequent day, and the corporate is growing absolutely automated warehouses and drone supply for even sooner achievement. Like Amazon’s FBA service, third-party sellers can use’s logistics community to meet their orders.’s most important market is just open to companies registered in China, however has a cross-border gross sales program for overseas firms known as JD Worldwide. That is just like Tmall World, and offers entry to with out the necessity for a Chinese language-registered firm or checking account. There may be an approval course of, month-to-month service charge of $1,000 and deposit of $15,000. Commissions vary from 2-8%, plus logistics charges if the model is utilizing’s achievement community.

Pinduoduo in China


Pinduoduo, based in 2015, is a web based market cellular app which has grown in solely 4 years to succeed in 500 million lively patrons and a 12.8% share of on-line retail in China – roughly $248 billion in GMV. It took Amazon 24 years (1997 to 2018) to attain the identical degree of gross sales.

Pinduoduo, or PDD, has an interactive procuring mannequin which is ideally tailored to cellular units and low-cost offers. Patrons flick thru obtainable offers as an alternative of looking, and might group collectively into “teams” to decrease the acquisition worth. The common order worth is just $6.

The Pinduoduo app makes procuring really feel like a sport, discovering offers, sharing coupons and impulse shopping for, moderately than the chilly transactional mannequin typified by Amazon. Lotteries, flash gross sales, dwell video streaming and free merchandise full a viral advertising technique which has been extremely profitable.

Pinduoduo was initially recognized for promoting recent meals, and has expanded to a full vary of merchandise from home goods and trend to magnificence and electronics. It first discovered recognition amongst bargain-hunters in China’s smaller cities and rural areas, however now has extra widespread adoption. Pinduoduo has zero fee on gross sales, serving to to construct its service provider base in a short time, however makes cash by way of promoting as an alternative.

Whereas Pinduoduo may not seem to be a horny prospect for overseas companies, its outstanding progress has attracted curiosity from high-end world manufacturers reminiscent of Apple and Chanel. In early 2019, the corporate introduced a brand new cross-border “Global Shopping” program for overseas sellers and, in Might 2020, it showcased a brand new community of six bonded warehouses situated in free commerce zones throughout the nation. Particulars of this system usually are not publicly obtainable, however there are a selection of businesses specializing in Chinese language ecommerce that may assist firms begin promoting on Pinduoduo.

Different on-line marketplaces in China

Other Chinese online marketplaces

Three different on-line marketplaces function in our record above, and is likely to be of explicit curiosity to on-line retailers and model house owners exterior China: Amazon, Vipshop and Kaola.

Amazon wants no introduction to companies in North America or Europe, the place it’s the clear market chief. However in China, Amazon has not been profitable. Amazon purchased Chinese language on-line procuring enterprise in 2004, and renamed it Amazon China. After a few years of shedding market share, closed to Chinese language sellers, however has continued to supply merchandise from retailers worldwide. This offers a simple approach for present Amazon sellers to succeed in Chinese language patrons.

As talked about above, Amazon’s web site in China has solely 23.4 million month-to-month guests. There are 91.1 million visits from Chinese language customers to Amazon’s different web sites world wide (the bulk to however visits to itself are comparatively low.

Vipshop is the fourth largest on-line market in China, with a market share of 1.88% and roughly $36 billion in GMV. Vipshop makes a speciality of flash gross sales of branded merchandise within the trend, magnificence and residential product classes. It has had a devoted “VIP International” class on its web site since 2014 and a longtime cross-border promoting program to assist overseas manufacturers promote to Chinese language customers.

Kaola was began in 2015 by Chinese language web firm NetEase, and is devoted to cross-border imports of overseas manufacturers. It initially supplied merchandise from Australian sellers, however has since expanded to manufacturers worldwide. Though Kaola has a comparatively small share of general Chinese language ecommerce, it’s estimated to have 24.5% of the cross-border ecommerce market, behind solely Tmall World.

In September 2019, Alibaba purchased Kaola from NetEase to grow to be the general market chief in cross-border on-line retail in China. Kaola stays an impartial web site, however could also be built-in into Tmall World sooner or later.

In regards to the information

This text covers the foremost on-line marketplaces in China (both pure-play marketplaces or retailers with a third-party market) primarily based on complete month-to-month visits from inside China, utilizing information from SimilarWeb. A world record of on-line marketplaces, primarily based on the identical information, is on the market in The World’s Prime On-line Marketplaces.

We have now excluded on-line retailers whose market kinds a really small a part of their general enterprise, in addition to marketplaces with a consumer-to-consumer mannequin, and marketplaces with a really slim product area of interest.

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On-line Marketplaces in China: The Land of The Giants