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The top 4 new e-commerce platforms in China

2019-07-23 09:25 Tuesday


China enjoys a richly diverse ecommerce ecosystem. While the market leaders like JD.com and Alibaba are the biggest names in the game, there are several smaller players that still hold their own, often by carving out their own niche in the market – such as consumer electronics merchant Suning and women's apparel merchant Mogujie. Here are four of the most note-worthy and innovative companies marketers are currently keeping an eye on in China today.

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1. VIPShop (VIP.com)

It's expected that VIPShop will account for a total 1.2% of retail ecommerce sales for China in 2019. The company has really benefited from an increase in apparel consumption, which recently grew to RMB1,289 (US$194.81) per consumer in 2018, up 4.1%. Apparel represented 6.5% of total spending in 2018, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Over half of all sales VIPShop generated in Q1 2019 were from the apparel product category.

2. Pinduoduo

Since their debut in 2015, the social buying app Pinduoduo has captured the attention of Chinese bargain hunters. The company is on the verge of taking the mantle of second-largest retail ecommerce site in China through market share.

The service offers discounts on products to consumers if they all get together and make the purchase together. One reason Pinduoduo went viral in the first place was because they used a WeChat mini program, which is basically a small applet that is used with WeChat. It doesn't need to be downloaded and it disappears when users don't need it anymore.

Pinduoduo said they received an average of 289.7 million monthly active users on their app in Q1 of 2019. The pitch to customers starts as soon as they enter the program. The navigation menu boasts flash sales, and there are regular pop-ups about the latest deals. Every listing on the app showcases what a bargain it is. The pop-ups also display group buys that other uses join in on to maintain an interactive and social shopping experience.

3. Suning

Suning has a large offline as well as online presence with their 11,000 physical retail stores – allowing users to buy via the web and pick up their purchase in store. They also provide post-sale services like installation services and regular maintenance. Most of their stores are based within China, with some in Japan.

The online-to-offline (O2O) integration is one of the key focuses for Suning. They've also opened their own smart retail stores – stores with next-gen retail technology including facial recognition and artificial intelligence. Suning.com acquired 37 locations across China from Wanda Department Stores in February 2019. They plan to augment Wanda with smart retail technology to transform the stores into a destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

4. Gome

Gome took 5th place for retail ecommerce sales in China this year. The retailer, which also owns and operates some 2,000 physical stores across over 30 provinces, specializes in consumer electronics. They also offer products in categories such as personal care, beauty, food and drink, apparel, accessories, toys, home furnishings, and auto products.

Gome focuses on providing high quality products at an affordable price. They have adopted a direct-sales model and established good relationships with brands in order to ensure they sell authentic OEM items.

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