E-commerce leaders eye global market for 618 shopping event

Updated 2017-06-19 10:00:50 Global Times

Leading e-commerce platforms based in China increasingly focused on potential overseas markets as they launched promotional campaigns ahead of the country's mid-year online shopping carnival, the "618" shopping day, which fell on Sunday.

Alibaba Group's brand-to-consumer site Tmall released a plan, called "Tmall World going overseas", on June 12, focusing on expanding to foreign markets such as those in Southeast Asian countries and India.

As part of the plan, Tmall Supermarket, the company's grocery and consumer goods platform, was officially opened in Hong Kong on Tuesday, with next-day delivery.

"Tmall is looking globally, aiming at serving 2 billion global shoppers and providing delivery service within 72 hours," according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times over the weekend.

On June 9, Alibaba's major rival JD.com rolled out a similar plan - "JD sold global" - to appeal to foreign consumers, where more than 6,100 products can be purchased from the platform.

Shoppers from 10 countries and regions including the U.S., France and Australia have placed orders, the Economic Daily reported over the weekend.

As of press time, neither Alibaba nor JD.com had disclosed the number of foreign shoppers participated. In another statement Alibaba sent to the Global Times on Sunday, Liu Peng, the general manager of Tmall World, was quoted as saying that the platform's turnover on Sunday from by both domestic and foreign shoppers, probably jumped 500 percent year-on-year.

Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent industry analyst, pointed out that overseas orders will only be a relatively small proportion of those platforms' total transactions during this year's "618" shopping day, and "that scenario will probably persist for a long time."

"China's e-commerce industry as well as various online shopping festivals are booming thanks to the country's huge population. Yet compared with foreign competitors like Amazon, which have claimed stakes on international markets, domestic players still lack brand recognition, cultural adoption and logistics service," Liu told the Global Times on Sunday.

But Liu added that these domestic companies are beefing up efforts to address the issue. For example, Alibaba's logistics company Cainiao Network has sped up its acquisition of overseas delivery firms' assets.

JD.com, meanwhile, opened a cloud service platform in April to improve service efficiency, according to Liu.

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