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Amazon will offer global shopping and ultra-fast delivery in China starting this Singles Day

October.31.2014 0 Comments

amazonWhen you think of Chinese ecommerce these days, Alibaba and Jingdong are probably the first names that come to mind – they are, after all, the market leaders. But Amazon is planning an interesting move in China that could shift the balance somewhat starting with its Singles Day sale this year: global shipping.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you can buy goods off of Amazon China from anywhere in the world. Rather, it means that Chinese consumers will be able to shop on Amazon’s US, German, Spanish, French, and Italian stores and have whatever they order shipped directly to China. Amazon China is also launching an “international shopping” feature that should make it more convenient for Chinese customers to shop for goods they want from foreign Amazon shops.

Moreover, the shipping may not take as long as you’d expect; Amazon China has arranged partnerships with EMS, UPS, and other global shipping companies that should bring international orders to Chinese doorsteps faster than ever. The new partnerships promise to help customers get their orders through customs quickly, and some items may arrive within three days of being ordered. Sure, that’s nothing compared to the speed of shipping within China, but for an international order, three days is very fast.

Amazon China VP Niu Yinghua says that the move is an attempt to capitalize on Amazon’s strengths: “China is one of Amazon’s markets with the most potential, and we will continue to bring our superior global resources to bear in China.”

It’s a move that could well work. In China, as in many other parts of the world, there is a common perception that Chinese goods are often inferior to their international counterparts. Product quality scandals like the Sanlu milk scandal in 2008 have convinced many Chinese that if you can afford it, buying goods abroad is safer than buying them domestically. If Amazon can capitalize on this perception, it could potentially carve itself a niche in China’s ecommerce market as the upscale ecommerce site that makes it easy to buy imported goods.

Alibaba and Jingdong may be giants in the Middle Kingdom, but they certainly don’t have Amazon’s ecommerce resources or infrastructure abroad. How effective Amazon China’s global move will be depends in large part on how well it’s executed and how quickly the average order really arrives. But if things go well for the company, China’s ecommerce market could be in for a bit of a shakeup.