Chinese Merchants Seeing Success on Amazon

January 26, 2016

Marketplaces James Huang By James Huang

Chinese sellers are becoming an integral part of Amazon’s global success. In the first few months of 2015, Chinese merchants’ sales on global Amazon sites soared by 100%. On Amazon’s US site, sales increased tenfold between 2012 and 2015 — and a large part of this growth is attributed to Chinese sellers.

According to Amazon, the company’s goal is not to be the biggest e-commerce platform in China. Instead, according to Amazon China President Doug Gurr, Amazon’s vision combines the ideas of “in” and “out”. The company wants to help Chinese customers gain easy access to high quality and authentic international products at fair prices around the world through “IN,” and help sellers from China to grow their business globally through “OUT.”

“We want to help Chinese customers gain easy access to high-quality and authentic international products at fair prices and help sellers from China to grow their business globally,” Gurr has said.

Amazon is currently focusing on the “out” part of its vision. To facilitate Chinese retailers’ expansion abroad, Amazon recently introduced a number of new measures.

Amazon’s Global Store Initiative

The Amazon Global Store (AGS) initiative was introduced three years ago to make it easier for Chinese merchants to sell on Amazon’s US site. The programme was then rolled out to another 9 of Amazon’s 14 global sites: Canada, France, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and China. Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands and India are yet to participate.

And the programme appears to have been successful. At a recent meeting with Chinese sellers in Guangzhou, China, Amazon reported that Chinese merchants’ sales on Amazon’s global marketplaces had more than doubled in 2015, compared with 2014, and sales increased by more than 10 times on Amazon.com. Wireless products, clothing, computers, outdoor products and home décor are some of China’s top selling items.

Going forward, Amazon plans to do even more to help Chinese merchants sell on its global sites. Eric Broussard, vice president of international seller services, noted at the same meeting that “China is one of the most important markets for our Global Store business” and that Amazon would “keep increasing investments in China to help more Chinese companies expand all over the world”.

Amazon’s Services to Chinese Sellers

  • Amazon recently rolled out a Chinese-language version of its management system for its US and UK sites in 2015. This is soon to be introduced to Germany and Japan.
  • Chinese merchants can also avail themselves of a “global product listing” service that enables them to upload product listings just once and sell the item across multiple sites.
  • Amazon has also pledged to help Chinese companies expand out of China by enabling them to create their own brands for global consumers.
  • Another new service just introduced for Chinese sellers enables them to ship to only one warehouse in Europe, at which point Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) will deliver on their behalf to 26 European countries. Amazon also handles logistics and after-sales service.

It’s not known exactly how many Chinese merchants are currently selling via the Global Store service, but sources close to Internet Retailer suggest that there may be tens of thousands.

Amazon’s new export strategy has been instrumental in enabling Chinese merchants to access the company’s 285 million loyal shoppers, as well as take advantage of its vast logistics network. The Chinese economy is set to become the largest in the world and has been the largest e-commerce market since 2013. Cross-border e-commerce is the most dynamic driving force in the development of Chinese e-commerce, with the government introducing policies to encourage this trend.

Chinese sellers have every opportunity to transform themselves into global players, with products no longer seen as “made in China” but “branded in China”.

Want to expand internationally this year? Download our Globetrotter’s Guide to Cross-Border Trade for tips on the trends and behaviours to consider when taking your business to new regions.

 

Blog post by James Huang, managing director, Greater China, ChannelAdvisor.

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