Here’s What You Need to Know Before Selling Online to China

Imtiaz Kermali
Imtiaz Kermali Oct 15, 2018 • 3 min read

For an online retailer, being able to engage in cross-border eCommerce with China seems like the opportunity of a lifetime.

After all, China's strong demand for high-quality foreign products coupled with its large population of internet users makes it a massive e-retail market - one that continues to grow larger every day as more and more shoppers turn to eCommerce in search of their new favorite web store.

It's important to keep in mind that as an opportunity grows so does its risks and challenges, especially when selling to consumers in a foreign market. 

Here are 3 considerations that you'll need to  selling online to China.

#1. Chinese Marketplaces set the UX bar high


In the U.S. and Canada, eCommerce shops operate independently of each other. Western shoppers are accustomed to having multiple accounts with multiple logins, passwords, and check out mechanisms.

On the other hand, China's eCommerce sector is highly centralized. eCommerce in China is characterized by thousands of different shops, all being hosted on centralized platforms called marketplaces.

Marketplaces, like Alibaba's for example, provide a seamless customer journey. Visitors to these marketplaces are all given access to one account and are guided through to the checkout process by one uniform user interface that's similar for every web store.

To attract Chinese customers, your eCommerce site should produce effortless user experiences, connecting your brand in obvious and transparent ways. Simplicity and clarity are the answers to assuring success in the Chinese market.

#2. China Is A Mobile-First Country

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Mobile devices are the preferred shopping channels for Chinese buyers. Export. Gov ascertains more than 80% of online traffic from Chinese citizens come from a mobile device.

Export. Gov also asserts that roughly half of all the eCommerce sales in China are made on mobile devices. Moreover, smartphone apps like WeChat and Alipay, are helping China evolve into a somewhat cashless society.

As a result of this consumer behavior, companies are being prompted to tailor their services more towards mobile devices through things like apps and mini-programs on WeChat.

By adopting a mobile-first mentality, you'll drastically improve the chances of your eCommerce Company successfully competing in the Chinese eCommerce market.

#3. Time Remains A Major Challenge For Logistics

The efficiency of time is a major concern for eCommerce shipping. It's one that must be addressed by every cross-border eCommerce Business.

Chinese shoppers prefer to buy from online retailers who have quick fulfillment and shipping times. Delayed deliveries not only hurt your ratings, but they also leave you with negative reviews that are difficult to remove and overcome.

Here's the good news...

You don't need to take the plunge alone. It's risky, we get it. That's why eShipper has teamed up with Export Development Canada (EDC) to help Canadian eCommerce businesses overcome these challenges.

With eShipper's logistics network and automation abilities and EDC's international risk expertise and connections with international markets, we're giving you the whole package and walking you through your overseas expansion journey. 

Bottom line, we're here to help you save money and reduce risk while helping your business grow.

Want to chat with one of our logistics experts about how you can expand your eCommerce business to China or anywhere around the globe? Email us at

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