US rides China's e-commerce wave

By Chang Jun & Linda Deng | | Updated: 2017-04-29 00:17

US rides China's e-commerce wave

Selling sneakers

Statistics show that basketball fans pump up annual sneaker sales in the US to approximately $1.2 billion and $6 billion worldwide. "Within China, there's such a desire to get these products that the path forward was very clear," McPheters, the CEO, said.

The duo decided in August 2016 to launch a flagship store on Alibaba's cross-border platform Tmall Global. They took advantage of Alibaba's annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in November, the world's largest online sale by transactions and trade volume. They used a combination of coupons and gifts to attract Chinese consumers instead of relying solely on large discounts. The result was a spike in transactions that day.

McPheters acknowledges that entering the Chinese market via Tmall Global has helped drive growth: "Obviously, Alibaba was big for us. We've seen a big jump in sales from it."

Five months after the partnership, Stadium Goods announced that it had raised $4.6 million led by Forerunner Ventures and the Chernin Group, and will use part of the investment for international expansion, including the Chinese market.

Besides hiring two full-time and one part-time staffer in New York dedicated to online China sales, Stadium Goods said it is "in a position now where we can add as it grows."

Jennifer Kuperman, head of International Corporate Affairs at Alibaba, told China Daily in a recent interview that Ma's pledge to create 1 million jobs in the US is nothing but "conservative," based on what they have seen happen in China.

"If you think about the number of businesses on our platform, if they even hire one person to help with the demand from Chinese consumers, that gets you to a million jobs; so that's very simple. And we think it's realistic because we have seen 30 million direct and indirect jobs created from the success of our ecosystem in China," she said.

Alibaba will keep functioning as a gateway to China and continue to help American businesses of all sizes access the tremendous Chinese market, and especially meet the increasingly sophisticated needs of the growing middle class, she said.

"Whether they are big brands or small- or medium-sized businesses or farmers (in the US), we help them sell to the swelling population of middle class in China – 300 million Chinese consumers now and a half billion five years from now – they are looking for quality international products especially in certain categories. And where are they looking for these international products from? The United States is one of those markets," said Kuperman.

Cross-border e-commerce imports into China grew about 30 percent to $182 billion (1.25 trillion yuan) in 2016 and will grow at a similar pace in 2017, said research firm iResearch.

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