JD.com: The recently rebranded B2C shopping portal has positioned itself in direct competition with e-commerce giant Tmall, most notable in their choice of mascot â€“ a dog vis-Ă -vis Tmallâ€™s cat. Boasting an extensive product catalogue, a vast distribution network, flexible payment options, and an international store, JD.com has received significant funding in early 2013 to expand its presence. With the recent launch of a dedicated Singapore online store, the company has made its intention for broader international expansion clear. In contrast to Tmall, JD.com runs its own fulfilment centres and holds stock in their own warehouses. To further cement its place to be neck-at-neck with Tmall, JD.com announced that it will be launching its own payment system that will be a direct competitor to Alibaba Groupâ€™s Alipay, an online payment platform similar to PayPal that is already used widely in China.
Tencent and WeChat: Which are the biggest internet companies in the world? If you answer was Google and Amazon you are correct, but did you know that Chinese company Tencent is already stepping on their toes? This internet behemoth rose to fame through its gaming platforms and its messenger and social media services, QQ and WeChat (known as Weixin in China). The colossal amount of advertising that flows through Tencentâ€™s services, as well as its online payment platform Tenpay, makes Tencent an important e-commerce player. Creating an entirely new shopping experience, WeChat users can make payments directly through the social media service. Moreover, companies can target users directly by pushing messages for sales, as well as location based advertising.
Tmall: Owned by the ubiquitous Alibaba Group, Tmall is currently at the forefront of the e-commerce race in China, occupying over 50% of the market this year. In a time when many B2C platforms struggled to maintain consumersâ€™ trust in the quality of products, Tmall set itself apart by only signing on legitimate companies or their authorized distributors to ensure authenticity. How does the platform work? Brands operate their own online store through Tmall, from uploading their product selection all the way to delivery and customer service. International brands such as Adidas, Sony, and Leviâ€™s are already signed on, which is of no surprise considering the over 100 million Tmall users. With its vast reach and strong branding itself, Tmall is the perfect stepping stone into the Chinese e-commerce market.
Vancl: Although this company is the biggest fashion e-tailer in China, it is still relatively unknown outside of the country, a point it is trying to change by buying up a series of international and domestic brands to expand its product range. The company rose to prominence selling affordable yet fashionable items (think H&M) and has since carved out a market in the Chinese e-commerce playing field. While some claim the company may be losing market share, Vancl still ranks in the top ten of Chinese e-commerce platforms overall, not only for fashion. With an aggressive marketing strategy including celebrity endorsements and a huge advertising budget, Vancl is miles ahead of foreign fashion e-tailers hoping to penetrate the Chines market.
Yihaodian: B2C grocery store platform is particularly noteworthy because US retail giant Walmart bought a 51% stake in the company in February 2012. Launched in 2008, Yihaodianâ€™s founders saw an opportunity in the market as Chinaâ€™s urbanites had less time in their busy schedules to do their grocery shopping. Since then, the website has built a name as the go-to destination for e-grocery commerce. To show off its prowess, Yihaodian developed a revolutionary virtual grocery store app last year, a marketing tool that has helped set the company apart in a highly saturated market. Yihaodianâ€™s closest competitor is JD.com, which recently expanded its range of products to include groceries. In response, Yihaodian launched a fresh food delivery service in Shanghai and Beijing, with plans to roll out in more cities by the end of this year.
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