The year 2016 witnessed foreign brands making an aggressive foray into China's e-commerce market, data from Tmall Global, a cross-border online bazaar under Alibaba Group Holding, showed on Wednesday.
It said 14,500 overseas brands from 63 countries and regions were lured to open stores on Tmall Global so far this year. Among them, more than 80 percent of the brands were making their first entry into China, according to a press release the country's leading cross-border site sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.
In the process, the number of categories sold on Tmall Global grew nearly 50 percent year-on-year to 3,700 in 2016, said the press release.
Experts said that Chinese consumers' increasing demand for overseas products will attract more foreign brands.
"E-commerce can be a cost-efficient method for foreign brands, especially newcomers, to explore the massive opportunities in the market," Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent expert, told the Global Times Wednesday.
Chinese people made about 120 million trips abroad in 2015 and spent 4.5 billion on overseas purchases, according to a post on the website of the China National Tourism Administration. In the first three quarters of 2016, China recorded 194 million inbound and outbound travels, up 3.7 percent year-on-year.
A McKinsey & Co report in February estimated that cross-border e-commerce would amount to 432 billion yuan ( billion) in 2016, and the sector is growing at upward of 50 percent annually.
The Chinese e-commerce giant said that cross-border consumption is becoming a new growth engine in China, actively pushing its globalization strategy over the past years.
On Wednesday, Tmall Global said it would deepen its involvement in cross-border e-commerce, helping foreign brands not only strengthen their presence in China but also enter Southeast Asian nations.