Chinese E-commerce Focuses on Video and 3D Shopping

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China’s retail market is still recovering from the impact of Covid-19. The Chinese top three e-commerce players invest to speed up this recovery. Alibaba is focusing on live streaming and the implementation of 3D Shopping. JD.com’s priority is on strategic alliances with social apps and offline retail, while Pinduoduo is closely following up, combining its unique group buying business model with live streaming sales, as well as partnering with other retailers to improve its image on the market.

Recently, Icecat welcomed three Chinese partner brands – Huawei, TerraMaster, and TP-Link. Icecat takes care of product content optimization and delivery to their key resellers in required areas. Their product data-sheets are in Open Icecat, free for any user. How is their Chinese home market currently? The below table gives an overview of the current top three Chinese e-commerce portals.

Alibaba: Taobao Livestreaming; 3D Shopping

Taobao1688.comTmallAliExpressAlibaba
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Alibaba’s divisions and market focus

Major focus: Livestreaming

3d shopping

Taobao Livestreaming is developed by Alibaba, with the objective of encouraging more physical retailers to improve their shopping experience for consumers. It grew dramatically in Q1 2020, as many merchants try to digitize the marketing and sales activities during the Covid-19 epidemic. It is reported that the number of merchants, using Taobao Live for the first time, increased by 719% in Q1, 2020.

In addition to fashion, cosmetics, and consumer electronics, car brands have become particularly active on live streaming. Taobao Live hosted over 15,000 car-related streams in Q1. On March 21,  a live-streamed group-buying event featured more than 10,000 dealerships of 40 car brands, including MaseratiAudi, and Volvo. Real-estate agents are active in livestream as well: in March more than 5,000 real-estate agents from all over China joined the real-estate related events, which attracted 2 million people.

Enriching the ecosystem involving various industries is the current focus of Taobao Live, including physicians, rural farmers, tour guides, chefs, and museum curators. To do so, Alibaba also has just officially launched the Alibaba Local Service University to support the training in basic broadcasting skills, styling, fan management, aiming to nurture 100,000 live stream broadcasters during 2020.

Shopping service: 3D shopping

On May, 28 Tmall announced the launch of 3D shopping to enrich consumer shopping experiences during the “618” Shopping Festival. The “618” Shopping Festival is the second-largest shopping festival in China in addition to Double 11, it usually runs from late May till late June. This is considered the first time that 3D shopping technology is being used on such a large-scale for commercial purposes.

JD.com: Strategic alliances; “try before you buy” online shopping service

JD seems now to be focusing on how to strengthen its position in the marketplace by building alliances with either social apps or other retailers. JD, one of the two massive B2C online retailers in China, partnered this week with the short video social app Kuaishou. JD.com provides its products to the Kuaishou shop, while Kuaishou will share the analysis of the livestreaming’s influence on sales performance.

Further, just one day after announcing the alliance with Kuaishou, JD.com announced an alliance with GOME. GOME is a leading retailer with offline shops for household appliances and electronics. It has been considered the key competitor of JD.com in the home appliance sector. By the strategic cooperation with GOME, JD.com hopes to strengthen its market position by combining online and offline advantages. As well as supply chain integration. Experts commented that JD’s partnerships with Kuaishou and GOME are also part of preparations to compete with Alibaba during the “618” Shopping Festival.

Shopping service: “try before you buy”

Since last week, JD.com’s “try before you buy” online shopping service has been officially launched. Online shoppers can place an order without upfront payment and decide if they want to keep the item during the seven days after receiving the products. Currently, under this new program, there are around 110,000 products covered in categories. Products like women’s wear, cosmetics, children’s wear, and sportswear.

Pinduoduo – The group buying platform

While Alibaba and JD.com dominate e-commerce in China with 58.2% and 16.3% market share respectively. Pinduoduo – as the most popular group-buying platform, is now seen as the major rival of Alibaba and JD.com. Below shows the interface of the Pinduoduo app. It targets shoppers in lower-tier cities and rural markets. Currently, the number of active buyers on Pinduoduo ranks second among e-commerce platforms, next to Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall.

Before JD’s alliance with GOME, at the beginning of May, Pinduoduo also made an investment in GOME to improve its image as a low-quality marketplace. In their partnership, Pinduoduo will bring GOME’s products (i.e., Siemens, Sony, Gree, Media, and Haier) into its platform. In return, Pinduoduo will help GOME improve its digitization strategy.

“This strategic partnership is a win-win-win. Consumers win because they get a wider range of top domestic and international brands at competitive prices, GOME wins because they can broaden their access to our 585.2 million users, and Pinduoduo wins because we enhance our foothold in household appliances and electronics9 .”

David Liu, Vice President of Strategy of Pinduoduo.


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Avatar for Yan Wang

Region manager of Icecat, MSc in Business Administration

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