Daily Digital Pulse of China: China E-Commerce, China Digital
Maritime Shipping . . . Not A Problem!
Alibaba wants no limits on shipping! Today, the e-commerce giant launched the newest feature of AliExpress: maritime shipping for its online purchases! The maritime shipping lines extended to Europe, America, Southeast Asia, Australia and 25 other routes. These new routes all come accompanied with support for full online tracking of goods. The step towards trade integration taken by Alibaba’s AliExpress is expected to provide online consumers with a unified and transparent price, a simpler shipping process, and more security due to online tracking. Evidently, this new feature has not been welcome by everyone. Small local sellers claim that maritime shipping will hurt them as many of them assure not to be capable of overcoming custom clearance obstacles.
How Smartphones are Transforming E-Commerce
The number of smartphone users in China has risen from 33% of the urban population in 2012 to 47% in 2013. 69% of people in urban areas use a smartphone to access the Internet every day, and the average number of apps now stands at 26. Smartphones are transforming the way people shop online. Take mobile apps, for example. Because the average user installs two new apps per day, online shopping platforms, such as Taobao, Tmall and JD.com, are integrating their promotions and campaigns across the new media. A user might download an app to send them a weekly reminder of the latest offers on B2c sites. They might then share the information with their family, friends and colleagues via SNS. Chinese consumers are savvy – 98% of users use their smartphones to compare prices between different online retailers. It is for this reason that B2c/C2c sites are trying to come up with new “mobile friendly” platforms – apps that give the consumer as much price comparison information as possible, presented in a user-friendly way. This is having a knock-on effect by the way in which the latest smartphones are designed. Smartphone screens are getting bigger and bigger, so that users can view more and more products at the same time. However, the smartphone is just one planet in the multichannel galaxy that is e-commerce. 79% of smartphone users will use their PC to complete an online purchase – these consumers use their smartphones as a browsing tool.
Alibaba and Sina Weibo may be Scheming
Today, Alibaba and Sina Weibo announced they will bind their user accounts as a result of the new cooperation between the two online giants. In the first steps Alibaba bought $566 Million of Sina Wiebo shares in April, and since then there are indications through Sina’s features that they are getting ready for larger changes leaving many people paying close attention to both companies’ movements. Sina Weibo has voiced their desire to move their platform towards an e-commerce focus and are thought to be exploring the correct model to do so. Watch this space.
Source: It Feed
Baidu Accounts for 73% of Online Mobile Searches
Baidu accounted for 73% of online mobile searches in June, which means that it remains the dominant mobile search engine in the Chinese digital landscape. The number of people actively using Baidu’s mobile platform now stands at more than 100 million. So what is the secret of Baidu’s mobile success? Why does the company enjoy such a large market share? The answer – R&D. Baidu made a R&D investment of over $200 million in the first six months of 2013 alone – a record in the Chinese mobile market. By offering the user cutting-edge technology, such as Baidu voice search, the company stands out from its competitors – it makes a lasting impression on the consumer, creating a culture of brand loyalty. In addition, with the increasing number of active mobile users across all demographics, in China’s lower-tier cities, for example, the demand for a mobile search engine that is a cut above the rest will only continue to increase. Baidu’s mobile competitors, such as 360, have a much smaller market share. The reasons for this include an overreliance on dated technology, and low brand awareness outside China’s first-tier cities.