The largest online market in the world


In 2016 China surpassed the United States of America in total online retail sales with a figure of roughly $750 billion in sales. Single’s Day, on November 11 (11/11) is the largest online shopping event in the world. In 2016, Tmall reported a record of $17.8 Billion USD in 24 hours. Up from $5.8 Billion USD on 2013’s Singles Day. E-commerce in China is in three words: big and growing. Taobao, Tmall, JD, and WeChat make up the tier 1 online shopping platforms, but China’s e-commerce environment is home to a rich variety of many more specialized online stores. Esteemed foreign brands tend to focus heavily on Tmall, JD, and WeChat for online commerce. Taobao, despite being the largest C2C online sales platform, has it’s drawbacks due to a lack of retailer regulations and fake products.


WeChat’s impact on people’s daily lives in China has been nothing short of immense. After successfully implementing WeChat Pay across China, it was only natural that an e-commerce side to WeChat was coming. WeChat online shopping received a major financial push in early 2015 to drive the payment function and more people to buy on WeChat. Today WeChat is a major and growing party in the online market.


Tmall(formerly Taobao Mall) is Taobao’s well-polished younger brother and the largest B2C e-commerce platform by sales revenue in China holding 55%-60% of the market share (2016). In 2011, Tmall split separately from Taobao to focus on legitimate online stores by raising service fees. The move successfully rid the platform of fakes and poor customer service. Requirements for opening a Tmall store:

  1. Enterprise registered in China for at least 2 years.
  2. Bank Account & Allipay Account
  3. ICP license
  4. Refundable security deposit
    • Flagship Store: ¥100,000 for ™ (Trademark), ¥50,000 for ® (Registered Trademark)
    • Franchise Store: ¥100,000 for ™ (Trademark), ¥50,000 for ® (Registered Trademark)
    • Specialty Store: ¥150,000 for ™ (Trademark), ¥100,000 for ® (Registered Trademark)
    • Flagship Store of a multi-brand marketplace: ¥150,000
    • Specialty stores that sell goods produced outside of Mainland China and the trademarks of those goods are not registered in China(Fruit, import products, etc): ¥150,000
    • “Book/Audiovisual” primary category Flagship store and franchise store: ¥50,000
    • “Book/Audiovisual” primary category Specialty store: ¥100,000
    • “Service” and “E-tickets” primary category operators: ¥10,000
    • “Online Gaming and QQ”, “Mobile Fees”, and “Travel” primary category: ¥10,000
    • “Medicine/Medical Service” primary category: ¥300,000
    • “Cars and Car accessories” primary category: ¥100,000


JD mall is the second largest B2C commerce platform and Tmall’s main competitor with 20-25% of the market share and revenues of 182 billion Chinese yuan ($26 billion). The company was founded in 1998 although it’s name would not become JD until 2013. JD differentiated itself with multi-lingual and cross-border service. Requirements for opening a JD store:

  1. Enterprise registered in China for at least 2 years.
  2. Bank Account & Allipay Account
  3. ICP license


Taobao is a sub-division of Alibaba and Tmall’s older brother. Around 80% of Chinese online shoppers use Taobao, and with over 800 million product listings it is China’s largest online marketplace featuring C2C, B2C, and B2B e-commerce. Requirements for opening a TaoBao Store:

  1. Passport
  2. Chinese Bank Card & Allipay account
  3. ICP License (for B2C & B2B)


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