Amazon struggles in China as eBay has another go

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Notoriously, eBay was forced to withdraw from China about a decade ago when it failed to make a serious inroads into ecommerce there after dramatic and significant investment. But now eBay is making another attempt to get its share of Chinese online trade and they’re going about it in a very different manner.

eBay is partnering with the city of Ningbo. That’s a major port and manufacturing centre that has its eye on getting a greater share of global ecommerce to help boost the local economy. Ningbo’s has been designated as an ecommerce pilot zone by the Chinese government. Roughly a dozen similar areas have been named and the idea is to build an infrastructure that greases the wheels of ecommerce imports and exports.

The benefits of these zones include expedited imports as well as tax breaks. Firms can also set up bonded warehouses to store imported goods for quick dispatch to customers. This means shoppers get their purchases up to 80% more quickly.

In 2016, Chinese shoppers made online purchases totalling $86 billion from sellers overseas and that continues to grow. So whilst the news from eBay does demonstrate laudable foresight it isn’t without its risks.

And Amazon may well serve as a warning. According to recent numbers, Amazon.cn has managed to capture less than 1% of the ecommerce market there. It lags well behind the likes of Tmall and JD.com.


(From: Business Insider UK)

There does seem to be a cultural problem when western firms try and take on China. Chinese shoppers may be interested in western goods and high end brand names in particular, but when it comes to using marketplaces it’s obvious that homegrown solutions are favoured over incomers. And even stylistically, the Chinese shopping sites seem busy and garish to outsiders’ eyes.

Obviously, eBay is keen to have another go. But Amazon’s failure to make serious inroads has driven it to direct its efforts and resources to capturing a greater share of the Indian ecommerce market instead.

One Response

  1. Quoting above : “Chinese shoppers may be interested in western goods and high end brand names in particular, but when it comes to using marketplaces it’s obvious that homegrown solutions are favoured over incomers” . . .

    .. . . in a country that can’t even engineer a reliable ball point pen it’s obvious that luxury imports will be favoured by those who can afford it. Yet that is, of course, specialised low volume sales.

    This web-site so often contains the complaints of members about the issues they have with Chinese sellers on eBay and Amazon but that is an underlying feature of this report . . .

    . . . given China makes almost everything the Western world consumes at prices that destroy local manufacturers . . why would they need to buy elsewhere?

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