Why Chinese people prefer Taobao than your ecommerce websites?

In China, e-business is very famous. There are 242 millions of people who bought at least one product on line in 2012, and more than 300 millions expected on line  users in 2013. Moreover, the big platforms’ turnovers reach enormous amounts of money.  For example, Taobao, the most important C2C Chinese website, has had a turnover of 19 billions of Yuan in only one day during the single people day, November 11th.  Indeed, the most important platforms of the country are very active in marketing, promotions and are adapted to the Chinese expectations.

But why some other e-business websites do not work? Here there are a few raisons that can explain some failures.

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 1. Bad visibility on the Chinese Internet


Generally, a website has to put in action different means to be visible on the search engines by using SEO, natural SEO, but also SEM, Pay Per Click, advertising on forums and backlinks.

It is also important to know that the Chinese Internet is very different from the Occidental one. Indeed, Baidu is the leader on Chinese search engines with almost 70% of the market shares. It doesn’t work like Google. For Baidu, the quantity is almost as important as the quality: you need lots of backlinks (links on external websites toward your website) in order to make your website more visible.



Moreover, Baidu has its own websites like Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Baike, Baidu Tieba and it sends back 27% of its traffic toward its websites. You also need to be visible on these websites to appear in the first pages on the Baidu’s research.


It is thus necessary to do SEO or SEM to have visibility in order to improve the traffic and have more purchase opportunities by increasing the potential customers visits. This article explains how to do SEO on Baidu.


To be visible on the Chinese Internet, there are two other important and essential things: the website has to be translated in the Chinese language and be hosted in China. Indeed, for the SEO, Baidu “punishes” the websites done in other languages and hosted in other countries because they can’t be controlled by the Chinese government.


This punishment consists on setting up your website in the last pages in the research, avoiding consumers to find you.


 2. Too expensive prices


One of the key-success of the e-business websites in China is the fact that products are generally less expensive than in the physical stores. Indeed, physical stores are expensive to implement in China, because of the location and workforce costs. The e-business allows brands to sell cheaper and do more margins.

A big mistake of e-business websites in China is to show the same prices as ones of the physical stores. Chinese people would not buy. There are used to pay low prices on Internet, and thus is available all over the country (more information here).



 3. Not enough promotions


Concerning the prices on e-business websites, it is important to have promotions, special events or discounts (for celebration for example). Indeed, it’s good to know that Chinese people are used to negotiate prices of the products they buy. As negotiation is not possible on Internet, the Chinese consumer has to have the impression to do a good deal. Same prices or lack of promotions during all the year can explain a lack of purchasing on the e-business websites in China.

 4. A non adapted website


In China, e-business websites can’t be only a simple translation of an Occidental website that already exists. There are different standards to respect in China. If you do not respect them, consumers could be not interested and go to other websites.

These standards concern design, colors, Chinese tastes but also the website structure. For example, the homepage has to include the maximum of information with an important content. The content has to be precise and written in small letters. The other pages that present the products have to have lots of information to avoid that customer loses his time to find what he is looking for. Chinese people do not like losing their time on Internet.



 5. Too complicated means of payment


On the Chinese web, the consumers and active users use Chinese payment platforms like Alipay (Alibaba), Tenpay (Tencent) and not Paypal (used in the Occidental). It is one of the things you should know about on line payment in China.

The second thing is that the structure of the website concerning the process of payment needs to be efficient. Chinese people also do not like losing their time in the process of payment; it has to be very fast. It does not have to exceed 3 steps.


You need an easy utilization platform with precise Information and fast process of payment


 6. Lack of community


It is important for a brand or an e-business website to have a large community on the social networks. Indeed, Chinese people are used to use Internet and they like asking questions about the products or the brands. You need to be in interaction with the active users and answer to their questions. But, you also need to warn your customers when there are promotions for example. Having a community allows customers to follow the news of the brand or the promotions.

The community allows controlling its own e-reputation.



 7. User experience


Customers and consumers have to be allowed to put online comments about the products or the brands. The active users will be able to have access to the different opinions. It is a way to reassure the future potential clients. The presence of user experience allows to create a good e-reputation for the website.


 8. Lack of trust in the website


A lack of trust in the e-business website can come from various factors:

–       The website can be not enough attractive (lack of photos or descriptions)

–       The website structure can be not well adapted to the customers’ expectations (too long process of payment for example)

–       A bad e-reputation or lake of notoriety of the website (lack of press relations or Key Opinion Leaders)



The e-business in China offers multiple opportunities to the foreign companies because this sector is growing and should continue to grow.


Indeed, China is a big country and, in various regions, the consumers do not have access to all the products because the physical stores are not implemented in each city of the country. Internet is thus a good way to have more choices and a better access to the products in China.


There is a new future trend in China: the consumption of women in online purchasing. Indeed, there are more and more independent and they have more power in the society.


See the e-business Chinese news here.


To take advantage of this growth and the opportunities it brings, it is thus important to know how to build e-business websites that Chinese will like.


Our company can help and advice you to launch and build your own e-business website by using SEO, SEM or SMO.

Find further information on our agency website. 

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  1. Now trying to figure out what you need to do and how to do it, can
    be even more challenging.
    Taobao i guess is easy but too many competitors, they compare the price and it is difficult to make good margin

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