Look at China’s top 10 eCommerce sites:
10. Taobao Mall
What do you see common across all these sites? Yes, all of them are “chaotic”. You will see banner ads all over, promotions flashing everywhere, offers of discounts – it all will give you a look of mess. But are these because of bad wen design, offcourse not. These sites are designed that way – in a way, it reflects the mood if chinese online shoppers. According to a report by CNN, its the online customers that what this kind of shopping atmosphere.
“Our consumers like a page that is very crowded, busy with a lot of links so they can open lots of windows at the same time.” David Wei, China tech investor and former CEO of e-commerce giant Alibaba, couldn’t agree more: “When I worked for Alibaba, I cleaned the homepage to an international standard. It doesn’t work.” China is a hot but tough market for the e-tailers.
The fight between eBay and Taobao is well known, resulting in exit of eBay from China. Story goes like this- Taobao listed the top 10 things that eBay was doing in China and they decided to do everything differently. eBay charged for the listing, Taobao offered it with no fees. Auction model was used by eBay to rank its listings where as Taobao used a retail model. eBay tried to restrict the communication between the buyer and the seller but Taobao created an instant messaging tool to encourage buyer-seller communication. And the result of all these – eBay had to leave China.
If you’re eyeballing the China’s online market, you have to be cautious with every step you take and keep your mind open- its a mad world out there. Statistics of the industry are mind-boggling. Taobao (Alibaba’s consumer e-commerce engine), China’s largest ecommerce site, clocks revenue which is more than amazon and ebay combined. China is the second largest market, after USA, which boasts of revenue greater than $210 billion (year 2012) which comes from the 591 million Internet users. Number of internet users is more than the population of USA, the third largest populous country.
China has its own share of problems. The delivery services is not yet fully mature. Logistics sector is fragmented and sometimes it becomes tough to reach all parts of the countru. This has resulted in emmergence of new players, especially in last mile delivery sector with companies like Yihaodian. Companies use mopeds and motorcycles to reach customers. If the infrastructure is improved, the country’s online market will grow leaps and bounds for sure.
Increasing popularity of social networking will help in further growth of ecommerce. Current 50% of China’s population is using social media.
E-commerce in China is now less than a bloodsport.