By December 2021, the number of China’s online shopping users reached 840 million, with an increase of 7.67% from December 2020.1

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Online retail sales exceeded 12 trillion yuan

China’s online retail sales have continued to grow since 2019. Affected by the epidemic, online sales growth exceeded 10% in 2021, with online retail sales exceeding 12 trillion yuan. From January to April 2022, online retail sales have reached 3.87 trillion yuan, with a growth of 3.3% compared to the same period of last year.2

The most effective e-commerce platforms in the Chinese market in 2022

Data & Source from: National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) Forefront Industry Research Institute.

If international brands want to enter the Chinese market, there are several major platforms where Chinese consumers often buy products from abroad: Tmall International, Jingdong International,Ymatou and Koala International.

Market share of main Chinese cross-border E-commerce platforms in 2020

Data & Source from: Analysys Yiguan

Tmall International

Established in 2014, Tmall International is the import-retail platform of Alibaba. As the largest foreign brand shopping platform in the Chinese market, Tmall International has attracted more than 29,000 overseas brands from 87 countries and regions, covering more than 5,800 categories, with more than 80% of them entering China for the first time.3

The top six consumption sectors of Tmall International in 2022 are pharmaceutical and health care, personal care, beauty and skin care, maternal and infant products,household cleaning products, clothing as well as accessories.

Why do foreign brands want to join Tmall International ?

As the leader of cross-border e-commerce, Tmall International holds more than 37% of the market share, and many world-famous international brands have set up their official stores in Tmall International, which is considered as ” brand’s second official website” in China.

Advantages of Tmall International

1. Logistics advantage: Tmall International belongs to Alibaba e-commerce system and has the guarantee of CAINIAO Logistics, which can solve the problems of cross-border transportation and ensure the timeliness of cargo transportation.

2. Operational advantages: The business model of Tmall International is that overseas brands can set up E-store directly and operate their own stores on this platform. Products’ authenticity is guaranteed, Tmall International looks for high-quality international brands and invites brands to open retail outlets or brand stores online. Tmall International values brand awareness and high product quality.

Jingdong International

Launched in 2015, JD International is the 2nd largest e-commerce marketplace in China.

It is also called the “Chinese Amazon”, known for its large and loyal user base and its own particularly powerful logistics system. has invited nearly 20,000 brands since its foundation, launching more than 5,000 kinds of goods,4 involving computers, cell phones and other digital products, home appliances, auto parts, apparel and footwear, luxury goods, home and housewares, cosmetics and other personal care products, food and nutrition, books and other media products, mother and baby products and toys, sports and fitness equipment, and virtual goods – 31.5 million SKUs of products in 13 categories. 

Koala International

Koala International is a relatively new player in the cross-border e-commerce market.

Koala International mainly focuses on its self-managed B2C direct sourcing system, it establishes direct cooperation with international brands. More than 5,000 brands have opened E-store on Koala Intentional, such as maternal and infant products, beauty and personal care, food and health care etc.

Can foreign brands have sales directly after opening official stores on these platforms?

Not necessarily. We need to understand the shopping habits and purchasing process of Chinese consumers.

Chinese consumers’ buying path usually starts from social media (WeChat/ Little Red Book/ TikTok) and search engine (Baidu); For example, there is a very important channel for consumers to acquire brand information. It is called Little Red Book/Xiaohongshu. Consumers first check on the Little Red Book platform for product reviews and then make their purchase decision. This referential step is very important because if a consumer could not find an official account or authoritative information on WeChat or Baidu, this purchase would probably be canceled at the very beginning. If consumers find a brand’s official account on a social platform, the next step will be comparing products on shopping platforms, and finally, purchasing online. 

Besides e-commerce platforms, what other online sales channels do foreign brands need to know? 

Another important type of E-commerce must be mentioned here: live channel/streaming e-commerce. 

China is now a leading market for live channel e-commerce, with a market size of about 1,316.5 billion yuan in 2021, with 37% increase on a year-to-year basis. This is mainly because there are more than 900 million short-video users in China.5 With convenient mobile payment functions, major social apps are starting to build their own e-commerce systems, where brands can open their own official stores and users can buy products directly within the application instead of turning to other ecommerce platforms. 

The main social media e-commerce platforms in the Chinese market include: TikTok, Little RED Book (Xiaohongshu), and WeChat video channel.


Compared with traditional e-commerce, live channel e-commerce uses content-generated traffic to attract an audience; then making full use of long-time accumulated audience’s trust, a live shopping guide knows how to trigger audience’s interest by presenting a product in live room and helps customers finalize online shopping.

As a 600 million short video content platform, most users of TikTok are the potential audience of live e-commerce, TikTok has gradually built its own e-commerce system, and a closed loop has completed.

The emergence of TikTok e-commerce live streaming does not happen by chance:

1. TikTok itself is a short-video content platform, while live streaming is a natural extension of TikTok ‘s business scope. it is easier to cultivate users’ habit of watching live streaming.

2. The target users of TikTok are mainly young people in first- and second-tier cities, who have strong spending power and like to watch videos for fun and entertainment, and the content form of live streaming matches the needs of this group, which attracts companies setting up e-stores and start live e-commerce on TikTok.

3. TikTok ‘s accurate algorithm recommendations can help the goods reach their target audience and stimulate their shopping needs, greatly stimulating users’ shopping desire.

STAIIRS is TikTok’s official partner in Europe. If you want to set up TikTok stores, please contact us, we are glad to provide you with the most professional advice.

Little Red Book / Xiaohongshu 

With 200 million users, 70% of the post-90s population, 300% user growth, and nearly 1 billion exposures per day,6 Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu is a very influential UGC platform. It provides a large amount of life experience and guide information, accumulating users’ trust and stimulating their intrinsic needs through life-like scenarios. Now it has become an important tool to influence young people’s consumption decisions.

Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu’s community-oriented business model constitutes a unique advantage that is difficult to be replicated by other cross-border e-commerce companies: users look for product reviews and then order directly within the RED platform, reaching a high conversion rate. Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu already creates a matured closed loop of ” UGC community + e-commerce”.

The target users of Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu are young women with medium to high spending power, and the spending power and willingness of this group of people are extremely high, with high conversion value. For overseas medium and high-end female brands entering the Chinese market, Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu is a must-have.

The Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu enterprise platform is open to both domestic and overseas enterprises. After registering and filling in company information, international brands can join in the Little Red Book /Xiaohongshu platform.

To learn more about Little Red Book, please contact STAiiRS, we are glad to provide you the most professional advice.


WeChat is the largest private domain traffic pool and the strongest social media platform in China. This year, WeChat opened a WeChat video/streaming channel; relying on its huge user base, it soon became a platform that companies rush to join in.

Compared with traditional e-commerce, WeChat live e-commerce is more in line with audiences‘ ‘consumption needs. Users can watch live product videos without leaving the app, and it is very easy to share among friends. In WeChat Live, viewers can get more product information and purchasing decisions are more easily made compared with offline shopping.

WeChat e-commerce platform has the following features:

1. WeChat accumulated 1.2 billion traffic and the largest user base in China

2. No need to pay platform commission

3. A variety of marketing tools can be implemented within WeChat, WeChat has a stronger influence in customer acquisition and traffic compared with other platforms

4. Consumers can buy directly in WeChat live, and it is very convenient to use WeChat payment. 

To join the WeChat e-commerce platform, international companies should first open a WeChat official account. Once a Wechat account is approved and activated, it is time to join the WeChat streaming channel and start to use WeChat’s Live shopping function.

To learn more information of WeChat e-commerce platform, please contact STAiiRS and we will provide the most professional advice according to your needs.

Want to know more about the Chinese market? Please contact STAiiRS for the latest information on the Chinese market.