How to sell online in China


Alibaba is the biggest online retailer in the world. Alibaba is in fact a wholesale trade site, used by online retailers across the globe to purchase stock.

For the Basic Package you’re looking at an annual fee of £1,399, for the Standard Package £2,999 and for the Premium Package, $5,999.

You will also incur a payment processing fee, the price of which will depend on your payment method and varies from a flat $15 fee to a percentage of the sale.

That’s not all though.

There will also be a 1-2% service fee for orders that exceed $5,000.


Alibaba-owned Taobao is one of China’s largest eCommerce platforms, with more than ten million sellers.

This is a business to business platform.

To sell on Taobao you will need to register a company in China or do so through a Chinese partner. Keep in mind that this does not include setting up a post box company or using a virtual office.

Tmall Global

Tmall Global is another Alibaba-owned Chinese marketplace, but unlike Taobao, focuses on selling mid to higher-end goods.

Tmall Global specifically caters for international sellers looking to reach the Chinese eCommerce market.

The site does, however, operate a strict acceptance process and brands can expect to wait 4-8 months for approval.

Once accepted though, sellers incur three separate fees; a refundable deposit which can range anywhere between $8,000-25,000, an annual service fee of $5,000-10,000 (product dependent) and a 2-5% commission on each sale.

JD Worldwide

Like Tmall Global, JD Worldwide is amongst China’s largest eCommerce sites and is a popular choice for international merchants as you aren’t required to have a legal entity or bank account in the country.

JD Worldwide will purchase your inventory from you and resell it to their consumers.

Alternatively, you can list the products yourself and incur a 2-10% commission on each transaction, as well as a $1,000 annual membership fee.

Kaola is yet another marketplace making waves in the Chinese eCommerce market and therefore one worth noting. Kaola is predominantly focused on cross-border eCommerce, with global sellers spanning Japan, South Korea, Europe, US, Australia and New Zealand.

There are in fact a number of advantages to sell on, including (but not limited to) lower entry requirements than other Chinese marketplaces, a wide product offering and fast payment processing.

When it comes to fees, sellers incur a commission of 2-10% per sale (product dependant) and a $1,000 annual fee.

For those of you selling from the UK, delivery expectations are slightly more relaxed, with only 3% expecting their orders to arrive within 1-3 days and the majority (32%) expecting 6-7 days. 

But how can you ensure you’re meeting the higher expectations?

Well, one way is through the use of an international fulfilment service

By outsourcing the warehousing and fulfilment of the products you're selling in China, you not only benefit from having your stock held closer to the end-consumer, but some services will even handle customer service for this market which is often a huge barrier for selling into China.

There is an increasing demand for British products

If you’re a UK retailer, the good news is that British products are seen to be of exceptional quality amongst Chinese shoppers.

China-specific campaigns will be more effective

One way to differentiate yourself when selling into China is by taking advantage of the country's holidays and other retail opportunities.

Golden Week, for example, occurs on the first week of October and is a nationwide celebration that often sees Chinese consumers buying gifts, making it a holiday that you can capitalise on as a retailer. 

As an example, you may want to create specific promotions or even offer loyalty schemes. It's worth keeping in mind that best-selling products during this time include jewellery, homeware and vehicles.

Similarly, Singles Day and Chinese New Year are other popular shopping days in China worth considering as part of your international marketing strategy.

So, there we have it. 

The top online marketplaces in China and some key things to know about selling to Chinese shoppers.


Recent Posts

See All

The Chinese Recovery

China is an upper-middle-income country and the world’s second largest economy. But its per capita income is still only about a quarter of that of high-income countries, and about 373 million Chinese


Mandarin Works


©2020 by Seymour Maitland Ltd. Proudly created with