From home to China: How to sell on Tmall in 2023?

how to sell on tmall

Selling your products from your country to China was once impossible for small businesses when China had just opened its trade borders. It was necessary to find a Chinese partner in order to create a Chinese company through a joint venture or else to create a WFOE (Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise). This process was long and costly both in terms of time, money, and effort. Then in 2008 was created Tmall, the e-commerce platform belonging to Alibaba which today is the leader of online commerce platforms in China. It allowed foreign companies to sell their products there. However, the procedures still required some efforts such as registering a foreign company in China, opening a Chinese bank account, and stocks of products in China.

It was in 2014 that Tmall launched Tmall Global, a similar platform allowing foreign companies to sell their products directly in China. Establishing THE link between foreign companies and Chinese consumers, the creation of this platform has greatly facilitated the sale of foreign products in this market. Indeed, having a local business, a Chinese bank account, or registering your business is not necessary. In addition, it is not mandatory that the stocks of products are in China (which is not problematic since the Chinese are not sensitive to delays with regard to foreign products) and foreign products are well received by Chinese consumers!

And the icing on the cake, companies are paid in their currency, which greatly simplifies their transactions. Since Tmall Global greatly facilitates the sale of foreign products in China, how can you be present there? How to sell on Tmall Global? Here are the tips and steps that we suggest you follow …

How to sell on Tmall Global?

Need more information on Tmall? Read our Tmall Guide & to go further with our China eCommerce Guide. The reading of these two guides should answer all your questions about how to succeed on Chinese e-commerce platforms, from choosing one to setting it up and optimizing it to get more sales.

First, what do you want to sell on Tmall? Because you cannot sell everything and anything on this platform! This is a B2C platform and not a B2B platform, so here are the types of products that you can sell there:

  • Clothing
  • Lingerie
  • Shoes
  • Cosmetics
  • Care products
  • Watches
  • Glasses
  • Jewelry
  • Phones
  • Appliances
  • Baby products (clothes, food, …)
  • Drinks
  • Foodstuffs
  • Furniture
  • Cars and automotive products
  • Health products (vitamins, supplements, …)
  • Cooking tools

Then we ask you the question: what type of store do you want to open in Tmall Global?

Sell on Tmall with a Flagship store:

Only for brands with a registered trademark (® or ™). The owner must be the formal representative of the brand.

There are several scenarios:

  • The store sells on behalf of a single brand (owned by the merchant),
  • The store sells on behalf of multiple brands (all owned by the merchant)
  • The store sells on behalf of a multi-brand marketplace (owned by the merchant)

Tmall Authorized store:

Merchants with documents giving the right to distribute and sell a brand.

  • The store sells products from one brand
  • The store sells products from multiple brands (must all be owned by the same entity)

Tmall Specialty store:

For merchants with two or more brands belonging to the same Tmall product category.

  • The store sells products from two or more brands that the merchant does not own
  • The store sells products from a brand owned by the merchant and also sells products from a brand not owned by the merchant
  • The store sells products from two or more brands that the merchant owns

Once the answers to these questions are validated, you can begin the process to start selling on Tmall Global.

The entry process for Tmall Global

Tmall Request entry

Entering Tmall Global is much simpler than any other option. To do this, you will have to prove certain things by providing documents.

For example, you will need to provide a certificate/license to operate your business, the Tmall service contract, a copy of the brand owner’s ID, and a statement of account.

You may also be asked for other documents, such as the trademark registration certificate (in your country) or your trademark license agreement.

You will also need to provide product descriptions in simplified Mandarin.

Having a Mandarin-speaking partner familiar with Chinese business such as the GMA team will be of great help.

Provide proof documents

You will not only need to provide documents as proof that the brand belongs to you but also as proof of compliance of your products with Chinese standards and regulations, a logistics plan, etc. …

There is also a part of subjectivity in your integration with Tmall Global since your brand must have sufficient assets to be competitive and sell on a platform of this scope.

Sell on Tmall, but at what price?

Selling your products on Tmall Global is a golden opportunity! But it’s not free, you have to take into account the costs of this presence.

When you decide to launch your online store on the Tmall Global platform, you have to pay 4 types of fees that can vary a lot:

  • Deposit costs (up to € 25,000)
  • Annual service fees (ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 € in general)
  • Commission costs (ranging from 1 to 5% depending on the category of your product)
  • Payment processing fees (approximately 1%)

Some fees represent a large sum depending on your type of business. There is an effective alternative to sell your products on the platform: find a Tmall agent partner to sell your products on his platform. This option will allow you to not pay the deposit fees as well as the service fees, but there will be higher commission fees.

The last important point for the sale, count between 1 and 2 months to start selling, it is the time that can take the approval process of Tmall.

Getting paid, the last step

And certainly the most important because you will be paid with Alipay, the most used payment system in China. So be sure that your bank account is compatible with Alipay, if not, find a bank where it will be possible.

In fact, unlike in Western countries, Chinese people buy online and pay via payment systems.

The lifestyles and habits of Chinese people are very different from those of Westerners. This is why, as we advised you above, providing you with the ideal partner can only help you in your process of entering the Chinese market.

Why do you need to choose GMA to sell on Tmall

Certified Tmall Partner - Gentlemen Marketing Agency - ecommerce solutions for china
  • A team of 70 digital marketing specialists in China
  • With a deep knowledge of the Chinese lifestyle
  • A passionate Franco-Chinese team
  • Professionals who support companies in their development in China
  • eCommerce Specialiste in China and certified TP (Tmall Partner)

Helping you is our mission, we are here to show you the right paths to follow and what is not to be overlooked. Call us to discuss your project, we will be happy to answer you!

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1 comment

  • Celine Robinson

    Hi, I’m interested to know more about finding a TMall Agent partner. Thank you

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