Cross-Border E-Commerce in China: The Ultimate Guide

Cross-border e-commerce has been growing rapidly in China over the past few years. The Chinese market presents a huge opportunity for foreign businesses looking to expand their reach and tap into the vast Chinese consumer base. However, the ins and outs of cross-border e-commerce in China can be complex and challenging. In this ultimate guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of cross-border e-commerce in China, including market trends, regulations, major platforms, and marketing strategies.

Market Trends

The Chinese cross-border e-commerce market has been growing at an astonishing rate, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% between 2014 and 2019, according to iResearch. It is projected to reach 10 trillion yuan (US$1.5 trillion) by 2025, accounting for 37% of China’s total online retail sales. China’s rising middle class and growing appetite for quality imported goods are the main drivers of this growth. Health and beauty products, maternal and child products, and food and beverage are among the most popular categories among Chinese cross-border online shoppers.


Cross-border e-commerce in China is subject to a complex regulatory environment, which has undergone significant changes in recent years. In 2018, the Chinese government introduced new rules to regulate cross-border e-commerce more strictly, aimed at cracking down on fraudulent activities and improving the quality of imported goods. The rules require cross-border e-commerce platforms to obtain a license from customs, register imported goods with the relevant authorities, and ensure that imported goods comply with Chinese regulations and standards.

Major Platforms

Tmall Global and JD Worldwide are the two dominant cross-border e-commerce platforms in China. As part of the Alibaba Group, Tmall Global hosts over 20,000 international brands from 77 countries and regions, while JD Worldwide has more than 20,000 overseas merchants from 104 countries and regions. Other major players in the market include Kaola, owned by NetEase, and Vipshop Global, owned by Vipshop Holdings.

Marketing Strategies

Marketing to Chinese consumers requires a deep understanding of their preferences and cultural norms. Social media platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, and Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) are essential for reaching Chinese consumers, who are highly active on social media and trust the opinions of their peers. Influencer marketing, or KOL (key opinion leader) marketing, is another popular strategy for brands looking to build awareness and engage with Chinese consumers. Cross-border e-commerce platforms also offer various marketing tools and services, including targeted advertising, promotions, and live streaming.


Cross-border e-commerce in China offers a huge opportunity for foreign businesses looking to expand their exports and capitalize on the growing Chinese consumer base. However, navigating the regulatory environment and marketing to Chinese consumers require careful planning and execution. By understanding the market trends, regulations, major platforms, and marketing strategies, businesses can create a successful cross-border e-commerce strategy in China.