Nearly a quarter, 224, of Internet Retailer Top 1000 retailers sell on Tmall, the online marketplace owned by Chinese ecommerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. And now, Alibaba has made it easier for English-speaking merchants to sell there.
In late June, Alibaba launched an English-language portal on Tmall. Alibaba hopes the initiative will help double the number of foreign brands on Tmall Global to 40,000 in three years.
The new portal allows English-speaking merchants to fill in details online about their products. Previously, such sellers could only join Tmall through personal introduction, or by signing up at trade fairs. Other foreign-language versions of the website are in the works.
Internet Retailer estimates gross merchandise value (GMV) of third-party sales on Tmall topped $432.36 billion in 2018, which is more than twice Amazon’s projected third-party sales. That scale has driven more than 20,000 foreign brands from 77 countries and regions to sell on Tmall Global, the platform’s cross-border portal that allows non-Chinese retailers and brands to sell to Chinese consumers.
And Tmall offers retailers and brands a broad array of options to sell on Tmall Global from those looking to gauge whether there will be interest in their products on Tmall to those seeking to build a significant presence in China and those in between. By offering options for nearly every type of brand or retailer, Tmall looks to make its platform enticing for U.S. merchants.
“Anybody can set up a Tmall store,” says Frank Lavin, founder of Export Now, which helps foreign brands sell goods online in China.
Mostly small and midsized retailers use Tmall Global, which doesn’t require them to have a Chinese business license or fulfillment operations in China. Retailers can use Tmall Global to sell small quantities of products U.S. retailers cannot register in China because of government regulations but that can be sold directly to consumers in cross-border transactions. Cross-border sellers also face fewer Chinese regulatory, product testing and approval requirements than those that sell inside China.
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