Amazon smells sweet gains of Black Friday
Booming cross-border e-commerce in China boosts confidence of US tech firm
US tech company Amazon is looking to further cash in on the Black Friday shopping carnival from Chinese buyers, as young consumers in China have shown vibrant purchasing power for diversified and personalized overseas products via cross-border e-commerce platforms, industry experts said.
"China's cross-border e-commerce sector has been growing exponentially over the past few years and has played an important role in stabilizing foreign trade amid the COVID-19 pandemic," said Li Yanchuan, head of Amazon China Global Store and Prime, adding he is bullish on the prospects of the cross-border online shopping market.
Li noted that the sales of fishing, skiing, camping and other outdoor sports products have witnessed rapid growth, while virtual reality equipment, hand-drip coffee products, and tableware and kitchen utensils with unique designs have been increasingly favored by Chinese shoppers in recent years.
Amazon kicked off this year's Black Friday shopping festival on Friday, promising to offer steep discounts on nearly 2 million authentic products covering about 20,000 international brands from four sites in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. It has also sped up logistics and delivery operations.
In addition, Amazon Global Store has announced its first front-end bonded warehouse will be settled in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, in 2023 to better serve the consumption demand of Chinese consumers for imported products.
Li said the launch of the bonded warehouse is expected to shorten the delivery time by four to five days on average compared with direct delivery from overseas. "More new overseas categories, such as pet food and alcohol, will be introduced to the front-end bonded warehouse in Ningbo."
Although the pandemic had an impact on international logistics in the first half, the most difficult period has passed and the logistics segment is recovering in the third quarter, Li added.
China became the largest market among all worldwide Amazon Global Store businesses in 2021, with sales surging more than ninefold compared with 2015. The transaction volume during last year's Black Friday shopping spree saw an over 50 percent increase year-on-year, according to Amazon.
The company has also stepped up its localization push in China by launching its WeChat mini program in 2019, which is specially designed to build a social commerce experience for Chinese consumers and covers fields like livestreaming, social networks and content. It will launch a group-buying function within its WeChat mini program during the Black Friday promotional gala and strengthen cooperation with key opinion leaders, Li said.
Statistics from the General Administration of Customs showed the import and export value of China's cross-border e-commerce sector reached 1.98 trillion yuan ($276.6 billion) in 2021, up 15 percent year-on-year. The country has stepped up efforts to boost the development of new forms and models of foreign trade.
"As a new form of foreign trade, cross-border e-commerce has witnessed rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and become an important driving force for stabilizing China's foreign trade," said Zhang Zhouping, a senior analyst on business-to-business and cross-border activities at the Internet Economy Institute, a domestic consultancy.
With expanding domestic demand and advances in emerging retail technologies, China has introduced preferential policies, such as lowering import taxes and expanding the range of goods allowed to be imported. This has prompted a surge in cross-border e-commerce imports despite the COVID-19 pandemic, underlining a period of rapid growth for China's imported goods market, said Zhang Tianbing, head of Deloitte Asia-Pacific's consumer products and retail industry.