Online marketplace eBay has today announced that it is to launch a localised site in China as it seeks to broaden its global reach.
Partnering with Chinese website Xiu.com, the e-tailer will unveil a new online shopping experience known as eBay Style offering a variety of products from up to 5,000 brands, particularly fashion.
Launching today, the site aims to connect eBay with label-loving Chinese consumers, with Xiu.com responsible for curating the inventory with an online experience suited to Chinese consumers.
George Ji, CEO of Xiu.com said: “Our mission is to bring the best of the World to China, so eBay, with its global access, is an ideal partner for us.
“Through our curation efforts, we also hope to introduce a new, more inspiring buying experience to Chinese consumers.”
As China’s economy remains conspicuously buoyant, an increasing number of Chinese shoppers have descended on the UK in recent years as appreciation for designer labels and tax-free shopping reaches new heights and eBay hopes to capitalise on this fervent interest in all things Western.
Melanie Tan, Vice President for eBay said: “Today, Chinese consumers are increasingly coming to eBay and we have seen a 40 per cent year on year increase of goods bought by Chinese consumers navigating eBay.com in English.
“We believe that in the future Chinese consumers will use eBay as a passport to global fashion styles, especially for leading women’s brands and accessories, and menswear, because our broad selection of new, branded, and designer merchandise will be unmatched in China.
“Our long term vision is to connect Chinese consumers to global products and brands that they want and love in a seamless and safe way.
“By partnering with Xiu.com we are able to surface our best inventory to Chinese consumers, while providing a simple and easy shopping experience.”
While there is no doubt that the appetite for fashion is growing in the country, one expert warned that eBay may find it difficult to connect with shoppers seeking high-end brands.
Jon Copestake, Retail Analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, explained the e-tailer’s positoon.
“For eBay entry into China, with a local partner in place to smooth the way, is a necessary strategy, especially after a failed first attempt ten years ago,” he said.
“Not only is China’s ecommerce market large, but it is growing quickly. China’s online sales rose by over 50 per cent last year.
“And there are no signs of a slowdown, with domestic player Alibaba reporting 71 per cent jump in Q2 sales this week.
“However, eBay may struggle with a market that is already developed, crowded and highly competitive.
“Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu dominate online sales and Xiu.com operates in a luxury niche that sits outside eBay’s traditional mainstream marketplace approach.”