Hong Kong’s eCommerce market has grown impressively in the past years and there are various platforms available for local and foreign sellers.
What makes Hong Kong unique is that you find a mix of both mainland Chinese eCommerce platforms and foreign brands. With the many options available, it’s not always easy to know what marketplace you should go for. Product categories, setup-fees, and amount of monthly visitors can differ greatly.
In this article, we give you a helping hand and list the biggest eCommerce marketplaces in Hong Kong. We explain their history, what sets them apart from other platforms, and
Tmall was launched by Alibaba in 2008 as a spin-off of Taobao and to cater to sellers of more premium products. Over the years, Tmall has grown significantly and is currently the biggest eCommerce website after Taobao.
What sets Tmall apart from the latter one is that you can find more foreign and high-end brands here. Besides, it’s primarily used for B2C and B2B while you can also find C2C sellers on Taobao.
With that said, the requirements to sell on Tmall are some of the most stringent in China. While Tmall requires new merchants to pay a security deposit of around USD 25,000 you also have to pay sales commissions and a yearly service fee.
The standard is that you hire a so-called Tmall Partner which can set you back tens of thousands of dollars just at a start. That’s not the case when selling on Lazada, for example, where you can get started with a few hundred US dollars.
If you’re serious with your market entry in Hong Kong and/or mainland China, have a long-term mindset, and the finances required, Tmall might indeed be one of the best websites to have a look at.
- www.tmall.com Local eCommerce platform)
- www.tmall.hk (Cross-border eCommerce)
JD is the biggest competitor to Tmall and was founded as early as 1998. The website is renowned for its advanced fulfillment and logistics capabilities with highly automatized processes.
Worth mentioning is that JD has two different platforms available, one for local sellers (JD.com) and one for cross-border eCommerce sellers (JD.hk). The key differences are that you’ll reach a larger audience on JD.com, but you also have to register and import your products in China.
That’s not the case with JD.hk as you can store the products in a bonded warehouse somewhere in mainland China or in a fulfillment center in Hong Kong, for example. The products are later shipped directly to end-customers in China.
It’s slightly cheaper to start selling on JD compared to Tmall and the entry requirements not as stringent. Yet, the platform does require that you operate a medium-large sized brand with a turnover in the tens of millions of US dollars.
The platforms are not used by foreign sellers who plan to test the markets at the lowest cost possible.
- www.jd.com (Local eCommerce platform)
- www.jd.hk (Cross-border eCommerce)
Taobao is the biggest eCommerce website in China and was founded in 1999, one year later than JD.com. The platform is owned by Alibaba and widely used among buyers all over China, including Tier 1 – Tier 4 cities.
While Taobao is primarily used by Chinese sellers, you cannot register on the website with a foreign company and have to import the products into China. Thus, you must test the products (when needed), register with local authorities such as the AQSIQ, and print Chinese labels. These are just examples of the steps needed.
Registering and importing the products isn’t necessarily bad as you can leverage multiple distribution channels, including sales through bricks & mortar stores and online stores.
Products in demand on Taobao primarily include:
- Clothing & Apparel
- Food & Beverage
- Consumer Electronics & Smart Devices
- Mom & Baby Products
- Health Products & Supplements
- Sports Equipment
Keep in mind that you cannot open an online store with a Hong Kong company, but will have to open a company in mainland China to sell on the website.
WeChat is the biggest social-media application in Hong Kong and mainland China with around 1 billion users. The application has added a number of functions in the past years, including everything from payment solutions, mini-programs, and a browser.
It’s said that WeChat has created its own ecosystem and people don’t even have to leave the application as everything can be found within it. WeChat is not a true eCommerce marketplace like the above-mentioned, but rather a hybrid.
Look at it like WhatsApp and where you’re able to purchase goods and services, follow KOLs, post in a feed (moments), and make payments.
Foreign companies generally seek help from 3rd parties to establish a local web-presence, create WeChat stores, and market the products. Even if this might be cheaper compared to selling on Tmall, for example, monthly fees can still be in the thousands or even tens of thousands of US dollars.
The same as it goes for Tmall and JD, 3rd parties don’t accept all sellers that approach them. Having some kind of brand presence in China, sufficient finances, and a robust plan is normally the baseline.
5. DC Fever
DC Fever primarily focuses on digital products with a goal to provide up-to-date information on digital cameras, lenses, tablets, mobile phones, and more. It was founded in 2002 and used by photographers and tech-savvy buyers.
With almost 1 million registered users, it’s undoubtedly one of the biggest eCommerce websites in Hong Kong. Here, you cannot only find new products but also second-hand products.
The website is not available in English and shouldn’t be at the top of your list if you intend to sell products in Hong Kong. There are plenty of other options available that are more suitable for foreign sellers.
Price.com.hk is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in Hong Kong that promotes a user-centric experience in combination with the application of big data analysis. It’s a price-comparison website where users can visit the official websites of brands.
Here, you can get a summarized overview of the best deals available right now.
The website caters to more than 2 million visitors monthly and you can find everything from digital products, lifestyle products, cosmetics, vehicles, and more on display. It’s not available in English but only in Cantonese, thus, it’s only used in Hong Kong.
Price has grown much and currently employs around 200 people.
The same as it goes with DC Fever, Price.com.hk is not your best option as a foreign overseas seller. Instead, you have plenty of better options available, as listed above.
That’s it for today. I hope that you found this article useful. Feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions or other recommendations!