Giants such as Alibaba or JD dominate a rapidly growing e-commerce ecosystem, but aside from these players, there are other e-commerce platforms that brands can leverage in China
PRC leads the world in e-commerce. Today, more than 40% of whole online transactions take place in China. One decade ago, PRC’ s e-commerce transactions count only 1%. China e-commerce is much more than simply a means for consumers to secure bargains on everyday purchases. It is an important driver of economic and social development that is powering transformational change across the country.
Local Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and JD dominate a rapidly growing e-commerce ecosystem, at the beginning mostly within China. But now those companies are going outside. Aside from these famous players, are there any other e-commerce platforms that international brands can leverage in China? Here 5 rising e-commerce platforms you never heard of.
Pinduoduo – 拼多多: The first Chinese social-commerce player
Pinduoduo is the fastest growing e-commerce app in China’s history, which took out the competition ranking second among most used shopping apps, behind only to Taobao. Its strength? The customers from lower-tier cities and rural area. According to data, Pinduoduo reaches 21.38% and 35.34% of penetration rate in Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities respectively.
The Shanghai-based startup managed to become a Unicorn in just 21 months reaching $1.5 billion gross market value much faster than its older peers such as JD.com and Taobao. The explosive growth of Pinduoduo is essentially due to two main factors. The first factor is the significant number of funds received, such as that of Tencent and IDG, which allocated an investment of $110 million in 2016. The second factor is the app’s ability to take hold in smaller cities.
It works slightly differently from other marketplaces allowing users to participate in group buying deals. More than a simple digital shopping platform, it is actually a social e-commerce app, which uses a “team purchase” model and leverages social sharing on Chinese social networks, especially WeChat due to the easiness of Pinduoduo’s mini program.
Secoo – 寺库: The leader platform in luxury e-commerce
Despite concerns about China’s economic slowdown, affluent consumers from the country continue to increase their spending on luxury goods, both domestically and overseas. And e-commerce is boosting this trend. Among e-commerce platforms, Secoo is the leader in luxury markets. Founded in 2008, Secoo (寺库) is one of the largest Chinese multi-brand luxury B2C sites. It currently operates under a partnership with Tencent in order to create data profiles for their more than 3 million registered shoppers.
Secoo specializes in luxury clothing and accessories for men and women from big-name brands, including Burberry, Miu Miu, Hermes, Rolex, Longines, and Bulgari. Additionally, to cater to Chinese consumers’ growing desire for a high-end lifestyle, the platform introduced cars from brands such as Bentley and Porsche as well as yachts and personal jets on the site. Secoo’s popularity is partly due to the fact that it offers payment methods specifically designed to be efficient for Chinese consumers, such as WeChat wallet.
Mia.com – 蜜芽: China’s largest e-commerce platform for imported Maternity & Baby brands
Mia.com 蜜芽 – formerly miyabaobei.com – is an e-commerce platform founded by Liu Nan in 2011, whose headquarters is in Beijing. It was originally a shop on Taobao but left the platform to establish its own domain in February 2014. Liu Nan managed to muscle her way into a sector dominated by Chinese giants such as Alibaba and JD.com by addressing a particular niche, that of new parents. Maternity dresses, milk powders, diapers, Mia.com provides parents with everything they need from baby products to toys.
Carving out a niche spot in imported baby products, the online retail company has quickly reached the status of Chinese Unicorn being valued $1 billion in less than four years. According to the data from the official website of Mia.com, there are 1300 brands built cooperation with Mia.com and the users of the platform exceeded 30 million. On the platform, 70% of products are imported from foreign countries. In the list of 2016 users’ satisfaction for China’s cross-border import e-commerce, Mia.com was ranked first among all competitor
Kaola.com 考拉网: PRC largest cross-border import retail e-commerce platform
Launched in 2015, NetEase’s Kaola is the largest cross-border import retail e-commerce platform in China with a 26% market share in 2018. NetEase’s Kaola currently cooperates with more than 5,000 brands from 80 countries covering apparel, maternity and infant care, household appliances, personal care, health care and other major categories of products.
The business model of Kaola.com is direct purchasing with self-operated, or operated by third-party merchants on the platform and in 2016, the platform was ranked first in the survey on users’ satisfaction of China cross-border e-commerce self-operating platforms. Kaola’s competitive edge lies in its unique model. It establishes strong relationships with international brands and directly purchases most of its inventory from brands overseas, bypassing intermediaries and local distributors to lower costs, the benefit of which is passed down to consumers. In addition, Kaola provides a one-stop solution for foreign manufacturers to enter the China’s complex market.
Juanpi.com – 卷皮网: The first Chinese e-commerce platform selling discounted products
Established in 2012 in Wuhan, Juanpi.com – 卷皮网 is the first domestic e-commerce platform that focuses on par goods market and selling discounted products in China. Through its unique model of “Par retail” (平价零售), Juanpi.com has become one of the largest unlisted e-commerce platforms in China. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of platform’s users has exceeded 100 million and 80% of them are female. On Juanpi.com, a lower price is the main point that attracts Chinese consumers, the average price of every product is around 100 CNY and 50% products come from small and medium brands.
In 2015, Juanpi achieved a GMV of several billions CNY and a customer base of approximately 100 millions across Mobile App, PC Websites and WAP components, especially the mobile App contributed more than 80% of the total GMV. Each month, several thousands of retailers introduce special offers via Juanpi to customers with affordable, high-quality goods . In April of 2016, Juanpi completed the Series C funding with a total investment of 600 million CNY from Tiantu Capital, CMB International, together with Zhejiang Jinkong.