By Emma Clarke

Taobao: China’s answer to Ebay

Exporting to China may be daunting for small businesses. Surely in such a large country it helps to be able to have a large presence and set up lots of new stores? Well, as we discussed in Part 1; the future of retail in China is e-tail – not bricks and mortar.

In fact, it is easier for small businesses to compete online. They can sell directly to consumers without having to invest in so many costly overheads.

According to a 2013 McKinsey study,  Consumer-to-Consumer businesses make up 70% of the Chinese market. It’s worth bearing in mind that in other countries these percentages are in the single digits.

The main e-marketplaces (think Ebay) in China are Taobao, Tmall and Paipai. They make up 90% of the online marketshare, allowing “microbusinesses” to easily sell their wares to millions of consumers. Let’s put that into perspective: in America online marketplaces only make up 23-24% of the market share.

Perhaps in order to think big in China you first have to think small.

Click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2.

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