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Guide to Chinese cross border platforms in 2020

Find out where Chinese consumers are spending money in a time where overseas shopping has become the norm! Besides Xiaohongshu, which other Chinese cross border platforms are people using when shopping online for overseas products in China?  If an overseas brand has not entered the Chinese market for a long time, is it because it has not found a suitable e-commerce channel? Find out the answers in this article.

According to data released in 2013 by the Ministry of Commerce of China, 18 million people from mainland China shopped online for overseas products cross border and in total, spent over 220 billion Yuan on international platforms. By 2018, the number of Chinese people shopping overseas rose to 35 million people, and reached an annual consumption of 1 trillion Yuan.

Where were all this money spent?

Check out these popular Chinese online cross border shopping platforms and see which platform best suits your brand!






Q: What kind of cross-border e-commerce platform is it?

A: A large-scale, cross-border, e-commerce shopping platform. It has 12.8 million global downloads in January 2020.

Amazon is one of the first e-commerce companies. Founded in 1995, Amazon began by operating an online book sale business, but gradually expanded to a wide range of other products and has become the second biggest internet enterprise in the world with the largest variety of goods.

Amazon and other vendors provide customers with millions of new, refurbished and second-hand products. This includes products such as books, movies, music, games, electronics, outdoor products, toys, baby products, food, clothing and accessories, health and beauty items, sports, automobiles, and many more.

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Q: What kind of cross-border e-commerce platform is it?

A: It is a comprehensive e-commerce platform. It includes articles for daily use, make-up and clothing, etc. Today, the app has more than 340 million downloads on Android.

Koala is a comprehensive e-commerce company engaged in cross-border business under Alibaba. It was publicly tested on January 9, 2015. It sells a variety of products including mother and child, health and beauty, home, nutrition, food, clothing and shoes, digital appliances, sports, outdoor and many more.

Koala tries to incorporate integrity and responsibility into its company’s ethos where possible.  Koala strongly relies on its huge user group and media resources in hope to become China’s leader of cross-border e-commerce with 100% authentic products, low prices, and hassle-free returns and deliveries. Koala provides consumers with a large number of international goods in the hope to help users “live a better life with less money”.


kaola website
brand represented on kaola




beyond website



Q: What kind of cross-border e-commerce platform is it?

A: This is another overseas shopping platform, selling European, American, and Canadian fashion brands. Around 4000 people download this app on iOS every day.

Launched by American company, BorderX Lab, Beyond is a cross-border shopping platform that brings major European, American, and Canadian fashion brands overseas. Beyond connects with overseas merchants via its official website and self-developed robot ordering system, to provide consumers with great value purchases.  At present, Beyond has established cooperation with more than 60 American, European and Canadian merchants, including well-known department stores, comprehensive e-commerce platforms, and famous online brands to bridge the gap between shops (both offline and online) and Chinese consumers.

This will mean that users can place orders with well-known international brands and enjoy local prices without any major price differences. The goods can be delivered to your door by filling in your Chinese shipping address.

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Q: What kind of products are sold on this app?

A: Our main items include men’s wear, women’s wear and daily necessities.

It been downloaded 3.9 million times on Android.

Based in London, Farfetch is a brand dedicated to unique and original fashion styles. It roughly owns about 550 global stores and 200 brands, providing more than 100,000 pieces of clothing, including women’s, men’s, children’s, and unique costumes, etc. Its wide range of products and diverse designer brands help it to stand out.

Founded in 2008 by Jose Neves, a Portuguese entrepreneur, the company has 9 language options on its website and APP.  This includes Chinese, English, Japanese, and many more, encouraging fashion lovers to enjoy the experience of buying global fashion products.

Farfetch delivers to over 190 countries worldwide and has delivered to 465 cities in China.






Q: What kind of Overseas Shopping app is it?

A: Dolphin is a membership-based, e-commerce platform. It has been downloaded 90 million times on Android.  It specializes in beauty cosmetics.

Dolphin is a beauty makeup membership Chinese cross border platform  founded by Beijing Kaipule Technology Co. Ltd., in 2017. Users can enjoy shopping at competitive prices once they have created a membership.

Dolphin gathers its quality goods from Japan and South Korea, Europe and the United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan..

The platform offers a 1 Yuan section, a sample section, a half price section, cash back, and many more discounted benefits to its members. Dolphin merchandise is only sold to members at a competitive cost. The brand specifically focuses on the user experience and service and hopes to put an end to fake products.






Q: What kind of shopping app is it?

A: It sells luxury goods and other relevant services.

On Android, it has been downloaded more than 86 million times.

SECOO is headquartered in Beijing and is committed to building a diversified group of global luxury service platforms. It sells luxury goods, luxury experiences, provides branding identification (checks whether products are real or fake), and maintenance services, such as repairs and the cleaning of products.

The store specializes in multiple product categories such as luggage, watches, clothing, high-end travel, artwork, high-quality Chinese goods, and many more authentic goods.

It collaborates globally with more than 3000 high-end brands.

On this luxury shopping platform, you can enjoy global luxury goods in the comfort of your own home.



Shenme Zhi De Mai (What’s Worth Buying)


Q: What kind of Chinese cross border platforms is it?

A: It is a product recommendation platform encouraging reviews and information. It has had 140 million Android downloads and has 29 million active monthly users.

“What’s Worth Buying” is an online product recommendation website and a consumer decision-making platform that integrates media, shopping guides, community information, and tools.

The website was established on 30 June 2010. In the beginning, it focused on preferential information, and then gradually joined Overseas shopping, Original (original sun, experience), and many other channels. Most of its content comes from users’ recommendations.

Every day, reviews and product information is posted on the website. Whilst RSS, mobile phone clients, and browser plug-ins help users to buy more cost-effective online shopping products.

The Overseas Shopping Special Zone is a consumer channel for Overseas shopping. It includes preferential products, experience guides, top tips, and many more.







Q: What kind of Overseas Shopping app is it?

A: It is a member-based luxury shopping app that provides designer items.

Gilt evolved from The French brand Vente Privee, which uses a very similar model: members receive discounts on luxury items and are able to receive exclusive designer items before they’re released to the public.

Its founders are Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkes-Wilson. They maintain the brand’s image with a membership model that invites its members to visit the site for information and e-commerce transactions.





Q: What kind of Overseas Shopping app is it?

A: It is a comprehensive international shopping platform and has more than 80 million downloads on Android.

Founded in 2009, Yangwharf, is an international shopping platform selling global goods to Chinese consumers without them having to go abroad.  Yangwharf’s app is the first to have a “live scanning” feature.  Whilst its other featured channel “Foreign goods”, brings well-known global brand suppliers together by providing group purchase projects, certifying  merchants for one-stop shopping, guaranteeing the stock of overseas goods, and supplying the global logistics.

The home page of the Yangwharf app contains a search bar, a scanning feature, a global best-selling list, a discounted section with special offers, and a unique live video feature.  Other main features include an online community, categories for goods, best-sellers, a shopping cart, and a user page.


THE GIANTS international


Q: What type of app is it?

A: An online retailer

Q: How many active users are there?

A: 417 million is one of China’s biggest online retailers and largest overall retailer, as well as the country’s biggest internet company based on revenue. sets the standard for online shopping.

It sells only high-quality, authentic products, and has a vast range of goods, covering everything from fresh food and apparel, to electronics and cosmetics. Its unrivalled network provides same and next-day delivery, and provides for a population of more than 1 billion people – a level of service and speed that is unmatched globally. is the partner of choice for local and global brands who want to reach multiple Chinese consumers online. It provides a variety of services to help companies reach Chinese consumers. This includes marketing, consumer targeting, data-driven analytics, logistics, warehousing, and financing.

As a technology-driven company, provides a reliable platform that brings value to its partners and customers in sectors such as e-commerce, logistics, internet finance, cloud computing, and smart technology.





Tmall Global


Q: What kind of Overseas Shopping app is it?

A: It is an international shopping platform built into the Tmall app for quick and convenient one-stop shopping. It has been downloaded 3.6 billion times.

Tmall international was officially launched by the Alibaba group on February 19, 2014. Tmall international is committed to providing domestic consumers with imported goods, and has been ranked as number one in the industry for five consecutive years.

At present, there are more than 25,000 international brands across 92 countries and regions in the world – supplying more than 5,100 different products.

Tmall international is built into the Tmall APP. The homepage pushes a variety of selected products and categories. The homepage also includes a global selection, international direct sales, flagship stores, national libraries, etc.

The home page of the international Amazon app includes advertisements and special offers, with other categories such as a query search bar, a discovery section, and user personal information page.


Xiaohongshu or RED


Q: What type of media is it?

A: Shopping and product reviews

Q: How many registered users are there?

A: 70 million

Xiaohongshu (also known as RED), is a Chinese social media site often referred to as more of an online community. It is also a cross-border e-commerce business and a sharing platform.  The users of Xiao Hong Shu, are both consumers and sharers. Users can buy products on the app and enjoy the benefits of cross-border businesses in China. Due to Xiaohongshu having the option to leave reviews, it has now become one of the most famous review marketing platforms in China’s digital age.

Xiaohongshu is a lifestyle platform and “decision portal” for young people. Founded by Mao Wenchao and Qu Fang in Shanghai in 2013, Xiaohongshu’s objective is to encourage a good life. As of July 2019, the number of Xiaohongshu users exceeded 300 million, which has since then, continued to grow rapidly.

From traditional commerce to online shops as we now know them, female social groups are encouraged to spend more, which is why Xiaohongshu specifically targets women.

Regarding the age of its users, people under the age of 30 account for nearly 70% of all users. Among them, users under the age of 24 account for roughly 40%, whilst users between the age of 2430 account for about 30%.

In terms of spending power distribution, the users with “medium and high” followers on Xiaohongshu accounted for more. However, the proportion of low consumers spending more on the app, has recently increased also.

It has been suggested that the original Xiaohongshu (an experience-sharing platform for international shopping) has accumulated a lot of older and middle-to-high consumers.

Whilst the recent celebrity advertisement for Xiaohongshu has attracted much younger students with a lower spending power.  With regards to provinces, Xiaohongshu is more popular in developed coastal provinces – with Guangdong Province having the most amount of users.

The platform has its own influencer marketing section and acts as an agent platform for all KOL accounts to advertise on RED.


Lv Haoze, an assistant analyst in the online retail department of the China E-commerce Research Center, highlighted that the composition of all apps on various cross-border e-commerce platforms, is basically the same. Each platform including search bars, special offers and discounts, live scanning, a best-selling list/trending products, and a valued community.

Generally speaking, home pages are divided into categories with shopping carts, users’ personal page, and other sections. On the user’s personal page, there are payment  options, after-sales customer service facilities, membership privileges, and other options available.  The overall user experience is roughly the same. Little Red Book, however, sets its community apart, by allowing users to freely share their shopping experience with others.

Read more:

How to register your RED account? 


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