The ubiquity of smartphones undoubtedly contributed to the proliferation of mobile shopping apps which has, in its turn, greatly contributed to the rapid growth of Chinese E-commerce. These Chinese shopping apps are now the most popular way for people to buy almost anything online. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 5 online shopping sites dominating China’s e-commerce landscape.
Alibaba-owned Tmall is China’s largest open business-to-consumer (B2C) platform, enabling local Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to local consumers. As the world’s second biggest e-commerce website, it had around 846 million mobile MAU as of the first quarter of 2020 and accounted for 56.7 percent of the B2C e-commerce market GMV.
Tmall is focused on offering authentic, high-quality goods. Consumers can buy virtually anything they need in the app, from clothing to electronics, appliances, cars and even houses worldwide. During the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba’s most important shopping holiday, most goods on the platform are sold at the cheapest possible price prompting people to go crazy. In 2019, Alibaba generated 268.4 billion yuan in sales ($38.4 billion) within 24 hours.
Jingdong, aka JD.com, takes the second place following Alibaba in China’s e-commerce race. Like Tmall, it also sells products from a huge range of categories, such as fashion, clothing, electronics, fresh fruit, and medication. Supported by JD Logistics, JD.com boasts a proprietary delivery network that covers 99% of China’s population, even customers in rural areas can enjoy fast and seamless delivery.
Like Alibaba with Double 11, JD’s has a shopping holiday of its own, the 6.18. The mid-year shopping festival now is not only limited to JD, other platforms also participate in it. For this year’s 6.18, JD.com announced a strategic partnership with Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok’s sibling in China, Douyin.
Since its launch in 2015, Pinduoduo has taken the Chinese e-commerce world by storm, sweeping up market share and becoming the fastest-growing app. Rather than focusing on premium products like Tmall and JD.com, Pinduoduo’s specialty is low-priced goods.
What makes Pinduoduo different is its “group-buying” model, which encourages users to invite friends to join a shopping team in order to lower the price of a certain product. This means that the more people buy a product the cheaper the product becomes. Some users can even get products for free with the help of their friends. Pinduoduo’s users are mostly concentrated lower-tier cities, and are mostly senior citizens who are in general more price-conscious.
Vipshop is specialized in online discounted sales of branded goods, like clothes and makeup. It partners up with brands to sell their extensive inventory through flash sales, offering high quality and popular branded products to consumers at a significant discount from retail prices. It advertises itself with an emphasis on product authenticity and quality and differentiates itself from the low-priced Taobao goods and higher priced goods from JD & Tmall. Vipshop has pioneered the online discount retail model in China.
Xiaohongshu,( lit. Little Red Book), aka RED, founded in 2013, is a social e-commerce app with over 250 million registered users as of 2019. With a focus on beauty and fashion, it acts like a community for people to share shopping tips, product reviews and lifestyle stories. RED also ranks as one of the main Chinese cross-border shopping apps. It focuses heavily on building trust and reliability between the platform and consumers by enabling authentic information sharing. The platform is a trusted source of advice and recommendations for users, mainly female shoppers.