How to start eCommerce business in China

Submitted by ruo on Wed, 06/21/2017 - 15:42

With a population of 1.4 billion people and 475 million online pay users(statistics according to CNNIC report in year 2016), China is a huge eCommerce market in the world. As opportunity always follows challenges. It’s not a simple copy and translation to expand your business in China, you have to know and understand your local customers’ language, culture, behavior, shopping habits etc. Make a localization strategy accordingly. Here are some tips for you.

Localize your eCommerce website


  • Localization is not simply translation, not only technical differences between China Internet and foreign countries, such as Google, facebook, payment methods. You also need to select your products carefully for China market. For example, skin care product, western people like to use Bronze products to make body looks healthy, however, in China, people want to whitening skin products.
  • host your website in China in order to fast loading speed especially for a eCommerce websites which have a lot of images and contents.
  • local payment getaway integration. Only few people use paypal and mainly for foreign exchange transaction. Also, there is one exception for China paypal account which is domestic payment(China to China payment) has been wired off since Sep 30th 2014. So better integrate your eCommerce website with local payment getaway like Alipay and Wechat pay.
  • Open link in a new window, people like to compare prices and products between several websites. It's not a big deal but quick tip.
  • design your screen suitable for PC, cellphone, pad etc. It's mobile time and people like to shopping via cellphone.

 Promotion methods - Do in Rome as Rome does

Chinese customers are very price sensitivity since there are too many channels for them to check the price like Tmall, Taobao, Jingdong etc. Chinese sellers like to do promotion use every reasons they can find, like holidays, not only public holidays but also unofficial e.g. mother’s day, single day(11th Nov),Chinese Valentine’s day.....
The most popular promotion ways are money off( 100 yuan off for every 199 yuan), free shipping, gift like two for one.
Remember to display your promotion on prominent position, like a big and well designed banner on your homepage, pop-up ad etc.

High resolution images and more details

A beautiful image can catch customers’ eyes easily and is much more persuasive than any word especially when customers can't see or touch the products physically. Provide high resolution images as well as details to let customers have a good sense of the product via screen. Let them know your quality and buy it without worry about fake or quality problem. Use models if you are selling products like clothing etc. 

Use local social medias

Since western social medias such as facebook, twitter, Instagram, Youtube are blocked in China, you have to build your presence on China social medias. The most popular platforms are Weibo and Wechat. Also, there are many famous relayed forums for each industries. 
What's more, social media can close the distance between you and your customers, easy for them to share your products and promotion ads with their firends. For example, wechat moments, where Chinese users like to share their daily life including shopping experiences.

 Add live chat tools

Since most Chinese online shoppers are used to Taobao/Tmall system, online chatting, to ask questions about the products during the whole process from pre-sale to after sale service.]With a live chat tool you can have more chances to persuade your customers to purchase and fix the problems before customers share their bad shopping experiences on line. For example, products are broken during shipping, size not fit etc problem. Use live chat tool, customers can get a feedback immediately so that they will have a good shopping experiences on your website. Also, it will increase the chance that your customers shop again and recommend your website to friends. If you can’t fix a problem in time, it will become disaster and destroy your brand reputation online. It’s internet era and information travel fast. 

If you have any problem or question about eCommerce business in China, please feel free to contact us.


Alvin (not verified)

Hi, I would like to know which e-commerce do not required China ID to open an account? Please email me to discuss. Alvin

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:46 Permalink

In reply to by Alvin (not verified)

to start e-commerce in China, you must have a Chinese company. 

1. the web server need Chinese company.

2. the payment method like Alipay/weChat need a Chinese company.

Just with a Chinese ID can't run a e-commerce site.  as foreigner, you can register a Chinese company, another solution is that, our agency provided a Chinese company, the relationship between you and the company via contact, which is solution for Chinese IT company in NSDQ too.

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

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