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Guide to Chinese Digital Ecommerce - How to Setup A Store and Promote It in China

China is the largest e-commerce market in the world now, generating almost 50% of the world's transactions. There are more than 710 million digital buyers in China's online retail according to eMarketer and transactions reached $2.29 trillion in 2020.

Thousands of retailers and companies from all four corners of the world are desperate to start their businesses and raise revenues rapidly in China. However, China's digital e-commerce market is quite different from your country, there are some tips and advice for foreign brands wanting to successfully enter the Chinese e-commerce market.

Setting up an online store

Third-party eCommerce platforms

In China, there are 3 ways for foreign brands of starting an online store. One of the most popular ways is to open a store on third-party e-commerce platforms such as Tmall and Like you sell on Amazon, prepare necessary documents and register on third-party platforms.

Although opening a store on Tmall or is suitable for everyone whether a small company or a world-famous brand, there is tough competition on these platforms because Chinese retailers are familiar with how to attract customers with aggressive pricing and creative marketing campaigns.

DTC websites/mini programs

The other way is to develop your DTC sales channel. Unlike the popularity in many western countries, DTC e-commerce is not quite in line with Chinese users' shopping habits. Only famous brands like Apple and Dior can benefit a lot from their DTC websites. One of the reasons is that Chinese users value brand reputation. Chinese users are willing to trust these famous brands and make purchases on their websites because of their good reputations around the world.

However, things are changing in recent years. With the development of mini-programs on WeChat, Alibaba, and Baidu, small companies start their DTC eCommerce with mini-programs instead of traditional websites. This is more friendly and easily successful for SMEs.

Non-traditional eCommerce platforms

The third way is to open stores on other non-traditional e-commerce platforms, such as WeChat, Douyin, and Baidu. The big difference from traditional e-commerce platforms like Tmall and is their unique traffic sources. WeChat has its irreplaceable social traffic; Douyin has its own short-video&livestreaming traffic while Baidu has the biggest search traffic. Even small businesses can profit a lot from taking advantage of the different advantages of each platform.

Promoting your store and product

One of the most effective ways for SMEs to promote is paid advertising. There are two choices for you to advertise your store and product. The first one is platform ads like Amazon Ads in your country and the other is Baidu Ads.

Advertising on the platforms you set up store can help you easily improve your store's visibility on the platform but the limits are also evident: you can only reach users within the platform. For example, if you advertise on Tmall, then you cannot reach users of To solve this problem, advertising on Baidu is your second choice.

There are more than 1 billion users on Baidu and advertising on Baidu can reach millions of eCommerce users who made purchases on Tmall,, Wechat, and even Douyin. Because many of them would do research before they buy and one of the best ways to do buying research is to search for more information. Therefore, Baidu, the biggest search engine in China, can attract users from other platforms.

Besides search campaigns, you can inspire users when they are browsing in-feeds with Baidu Feed Ads; encourage them to take action with Baidu Startup Ads; improve the visibility of your stores from Tmall or with Baidu Brand Zone Ads.

In a word, no matter which way you choose to open an online store in China, you can always promote it with Baidu Ads. Contact us to grow your retail business.

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