A couple weeks ago we wrote about Amazon China’s plans to offer customers global brands and fast international shipping starting this Singles Day. And now that Singles Day has come, Amazon China has officially launched the “Amazon Overseas” (our translation) section of its site, which you can access here.
Amazon Overseas allows Amazon China customers to browse the stock of the US Amazon store from within an all-Chinese user interface. At the moment, that doesn’t mean total access: the products available on Amazon Overseas are limited to a few categories: baby and kids’ stuff, toys, clothing, shoes, sports equipment, beauty products, and health products.
These categories weren’t chosen at random. Chinese parents, especially, are interested in importing foreign clothing, toys, and items for their children because of the perception that global products are safer. Reports in the Chinese press have raised questions about the safety of everything from domestic baby formula to childrens’ toys over the past few years, and many parents consequently prefer to avoid domestic goods. Chinese consumers are interested in foreign health products for the same reason – they’re considered safer by many – and clothing and beauty products are worth importing because of the famous brands on offer.
With that said, the selection is likely to expand over the coming year. In earlier reports, Amazon China indicated that Amazon Overseas would include products from several different global stores, but at present everything available on Amazon Overseas comes from Amazon’s US store. Products from Amazon’s German, Spanish, French, and Italian stores should be added later down the line.
Although the intention of Amazon Overseas is to serve China-based customers, it may also be a boon to members of the Chinese diaspora worldwide who’d like to buy products from Amazon but would prefer to shop in Chinese. When Tech in Asia began a test purchase on the site, we found that it seemed more than happy to accept shipping addresses outside China, meaning that Chinese students studying in the US – for example – could use Amazon Overseas to buy clothing for themselves while they’re in the US.