Chinese e-commerce giants to expand overseas markets

By Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/22 22:58:40

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The coronavirus epidemic will provide an opening for Chinese cross-border e-commerce platforms like AliExpress and to hasten the expansion of their overseas business and close the gap with US e-commerce giant Amazon, analysts said. 

Zhang Yi, CEO of Shenzhen-based iiMedia Research, said that only China has the ability to produce enough medical products like face masks and ventilators  to help the world fight the coronavirus pandemic, and Chinese e-commerce websites will be able to win over a good number of the customers from their biggest overseas rival, Amazon.  

Such supply advantages are evident. Data provided by Chinese cross-border e-commerce platform to the Global Times showed that searches for hand sanitizer grew 268 times in the week ending March 9 compared with the week ending December, while searches for masks grew fourfold.  

Enquiries related to medical face masks also increased b 13 times from Italian clients on Alibaba's cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress in the past two weeks, while enquiries tripled in Spain, according to a note AliExpress sent to the Global Times on Sunday. 

Apart from supplies, Chinese e-commerce platforms also displayed more confidence in their reactions to the epidemic, Zhang noted.  

For example, Amazon said recently that it would no longer accept shipments of unnecessary products, which Zhang said would affect many Chinese exporters that use Amazon warehouses, because most of the goods they sell are not daily necessities.  

In comparison, AliExpress' overseas warehouses are operating normally with no restrictions on the categories of products they are accepting, the company noted.

"Amazon's shun of some businesses will induce customers to turn to Chinese e-commerce platforms like JD and AliExpress, a good chance for those companies to absorb new users as preparation for further expansion," Zhang said. 

AliExpress noted that apart from healthcare products, some products for daily use, such as indoor exercise equipment also saw a rising demand from their European customers. 

Lu Zhenwang, an independent e-commerce expert, agreed that the coronavirus will provide an opportunity for domestic e-commerce companies to speed up overseas expansion.

"The coronavirus pandemic might extend to fall or even winter in Europe and the US, which would lead to supply shortages. Chinese e-commerce websites should take the chance to grab a larger market share," Lu told the Global Times.

AliExpress told the Global Times that it would speed up the layout of overseas warehouses this year, particularly to enhance warehouse buildup in European countries. 


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