Web options proliferate for Chinese shoppers

Updated: 2014-12-01 12:10

By Du Xiaoying in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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As the world's biggest e-commerce market, China has attracted global attention for its growing appetite for overseas products. For the first time, Chinese online shoppers took part in the United States' Black Friday promotion on Nov 28.

Cross-border shopping is no stranger to many Chinese shoppers looking for good-quality foreign products at a lower price, or products that cannot be found in China. But this year was the first time they enjoyed direct delivery service.

Coupled with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's platform Taobao.com and other notable platforms in the sector such as Amazon.cn and Yihaodian.com, some famous American department stores and high-end retailers debuted online for China's shoppers.

"Shopping from overseas is great, as you can buy many quality products with a cheaper price than that in China," said Wang Tongni, 32, a primary school teacher in Beijing, who shared Black Friday promotion information with friends on Wechat (Chinese instant messaging software).

Sun Tianyuan, a 24-year-old scenarist working in Beijing, believes international shopping is good for people not content with the domestic market, as their purchasing power is getting stronger.

Xie Xuedong, 30, an office clerk working in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, who had spent about $180 for one Michael Kors purse and one Coach purse, said: "It is a good buy and saved me about 40 percent than buying them in China."

Luxury goods are often more expensive in China than in the US. Take high-end brand Diane von Furstenberg for example. Its classic wrap dress is $345 including tax in the US, but 3,680 yuan ($598) in China. Also, many brand-name products are not sold in China.

Clothes, shoes, household electrical appliances, skin care products and baby supplies are the items that Xie often shops for overseas, "As long as the quality and price are better than that in China, why not?" Xie said.

Chen Siqi, 32, a project manager in Beijing, paid much attention to Black Friday's promotions but didn't buy anything, as she had already bought many items on Nov 11, the biggest Chinese shopping spree created by Alibaba.

"The Black Friday sale is certainly great, but I've spent 5,000 yuan ($814) on "Double 11" and bought everything I need for now." Chen said with a pity face.

Chen Mohan, 30, engineer working in Beijing, told China Daily that logistics are her first concern for cross-border shopping. She was keen to spend some money on Friday but failed as the products she likes didn't offer direct mail.

"I've checked Macy's and two other department stores' website; maybe to avoid competition, the brands that already have shops in China didn't offer direct mail, so I didn't buy anything," Chen said.

Even with four years overseas shopping experience, Chen still considers logistics to be the biggest obstacle, as she had lost her mail in transit before.

"This year's Black Friday promotion is good, as it offers a safer way to shop overseas," Chen said, "Big websites like Amazon.cn and Taobao.com have a good reputation for their after-sale services. I hope more sellers could offer direct mail in the future."


(China Daily USA 12/01/2014 page2)