Tmall Global plots initiatives to boost trade into China

China's technology spending will grow to reach US$256 billion this year (Image daoleduc / iStockPhoto)
Tmall Global has launched two initiatives aimed at helping international brands break into China (Image daoleduc / iStockPhoto)

Tmall Global, a cross border shopping platform in China, has launched two key initiatives aimed at helping brands from overseas enter the China market.

The initiatives have been named the Centralized Import Procurement (CIP) and Tmall Overseas Fulfillment (TOF).

Alibaba unveiled the CIP program today as a key part of Alibaba’s new retail business. By leveraging the six procurement centers Alibaba has set up across the globe, the program sources imported goods for all the online and offline outlets within the Alibaba ecosystem, including technology-driven grocery chain Freshippo (also known as “Hema” in Chinese), Tmall Supermarket and Intime Department Store. The program is a quick and low-risk way for international brands to enter China, allowing them to reach the nearly 700 million active users on Alibaba platforms.

TOF is a consignment solution that allows brands to place a small batch of products at one of the TOF centers to be sold on the Tmall Global platform. This gives businesses around the world a chance to try out and fine tune their product assortment before making a full entry into China. TOF centers are currently available in Japan, South Korea and the US, with plans to expand into Europe later this year.

“These new initiatives on Tmall Global, supported by the entire Alibaba ecosystem and benefiting both current and future partners, are needed enhancements as we strive to meet the rising demand of Chinese consumers for high-quality international products,” said Alvin Liu, General Manager of Tmall Import-Export, at the Tmall Global 2019 Global Partners Summit.

To support these new initiatives, Alibaba’s smart logistics network, Cainiao, will continue to expand its network of bonded warehouses in China, with an aim to triple its total size to three million square meters in three years.

“Over the years, Tmall Global has added a full suite of innovative and value-added services to help overseas brands succeed in the China market, including plugging them in to the entire Alibaba economy. The consumer insight from our ecosystem provides Tmall Global partners a complete view of their customers’ engagements even if they do not have operations in China. These market entry and in-market expansion programs are our key differentiators and have created unique benefits for international brands,” said Liu.

Tmall Global data shows China’s demands for imported goods is gaining strong traction across age groups, regions and categories. Those born after 2000, or “Generation Z,” is the fastest-growing consumer group on the platform. The platform is attracting more shoppers in less developed regions, and Tmall Global has successfully propelled the growth of three categories: anti-hair loss products, beauty-from-within products such as collagen drinks and trendy footwear in 2018.

China’s “Generation Z” is also fueling demand for pet products and beauty devices. In 2018, the number of pet-related brands on Tmall Global doubled from the previous year, and sales of beauty devices on the platform also quadrupled from a year earlier.

First published in Retail Tech Innovation

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