China has become the largest online marketplace. China’s “Singles Day”
(November 11th) is the equivalent of Black Friday in the US but on steroids with
Alibaba reporting more than USD 38 billion in sales across its platforms. In
addition to e-commerce sites, the social media sites are behemoths and home to
commercial activities as well. It is estimated that there are over 1 billion
active users on WeChat.
With commerce and marketing activities quickly moving online in China, it
is important to understand the landscape so as to develop the right strategy for
IP enforcement. Here I provide an overview of some popular e-commerce and social
media sites to get you familiar.
Most are familiar with Alibaba but there are a number of platforms
under the Alibaba umbrella. including TaoBao and T-Mall (previously
called TaoBao Mall) as well as Aliexpress. Alipay, also part of the
Alibaba Group, is the largest online payment system globally and used on these
and other e-commerce sites in China.
JD.com or Jingdong is the biggest competitor to
Pinduoduo, similar to Groupon, is China’s group buying site with a
greater emphasis on social interaction to encourage larger groups of
Suning started out as a brick and mortar retailer focusing on home
appliances and electronics but now has become a competitive e-commerce player
selling a variety of goods.
Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) is a social media and e-commerce hybrid
site which focuses on fashion and beauty products and includes product reviews
through text, photo and YouTube-like videos.
Vipshop has become very popular and is known as providing discounted
Secoo is China’s most successful online luxury retailer, also
offering some offline services.
WeChat is by far the biggest player in social media these days. Some
refer to it as the Facebook of China, but it is much more and often called the
“app for everything”. It’s used for messaging; sharing updates and third party
content; making payments to individuals as well as restaurants, stores, taxi
drivers using WeChat Pay; sharing location; making video and audio calls;
connecting with businesses to obtain services and even buy products online. Most
people are using their WeChat accounts throughout the day regularly.
Usually referred to as China’s Twitter, Weibo is a microblogging
site. It recently also started live streaming service.
Douyin allows users to create and share short videos. It’s
international counterpart, TikTok, is hugely popular overseas including
the US but the two sites are actually separate. Snapchat is a comparable app.
Toutiao is a news and information sharing platform.
Douban hosts discussion forums, similar to Reddit
Baidu Tieba is a place for sharing and getting information through
discussion forums, Q&As, blogs.
QQ was one of the early players in social media mostly used for
messaging but now including other features such as video sharing and games.
Dianping is the Yelp of China with restaurant information and