Amazon is hoping to draw on its global strength, including its popular Prime loyalty program, to bolster its cross-border e-commerce business in a Chinese market where total online sales were worth $378 billion last year alone, Caixin reports. That market is sizable, boasting 41 million buyers last year and expected to nearly double to 78 million by 2018, according to market research firm iResearch. Cross-border purchases of imported goods in China were worth 95.7 billion yuan ($14.0 billion) in last year’s fourth quarter, up 14% from a year earlier, according to Analysys, another local market research firm. Amazon.com currently boasts a respectable 6.6% share for the cross-border segment of China’s e-commerce market, placing it sixth behind industry leader Alibaba, whose imported-goods business controls about 19%, according to Analysys. That’s a far smaller gap than in general e-commerce, where Amazon isn’t even an afterthought, with just 0.8% of the market.
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