How to find the right partner to launch your brand on Chinese apps?

Who are the biggest Players in the Chinese digital market?

The Chinese digital market is still dominated by two companies: Tencent and Alibaba. Tencent owns the messaging & social Apps WeChat and QQ, while Alibaba owns the payment App Alipay, the e-commerce App Taobao (and its English version Tmall), and the video platform Youku.

WeChat and Tmall are the most suitable solutions for a brand to enter the Chinese market as a first step, then a brand can extend its attention to other platforms such as once succeeded in Alibaba’s ecosystem

  • Tmall has a clear dominating position among Chinese B2C marketplaces. It controls 61.5% of the B2C retail e-commerce market. Tmall is the largest B2C e-commerce platform in China, owned by Alibaba, which recorded 711 million annual active customers as of December 2019.
  • At the same time, Wechat, with over 1.26 billion monthly active users (as of 2021 3rd quarter – data by Tencent), is dominating the social media and messaging space in China. The App has impressive engagement rates with users spending 82 minutes per day on average on WeChat. In addition, WeChat integrates e-commerce experiences through its stores, in this way a brand can make its products available through WeChat by creating a store there.

Why is it important to find the right partners to promote your company on these platforms?

For international brands, it is hard to create an online store on their own because it needs a lot of investment. International brands usually lack the knowledge and experience in the e-commerce market in China, for this reason, cooperating with a Tmall Partner or a Wechat partner is a good choice.

These partners offer services like:

  • online store operations
  • IT solutions
  • customer satisfaction
  • analysis of customers’ purchasing behavior and product preferences
  • creative marketing strategies to improve customers’ shopping experiences

However, it is not so easy to find the right partner. Since choosing the right partner can be the determining factor between success and failure, a brand should understand how to find the right partner.

Tmall partner

Tmall Partner (TP) refers to the third-party companies that provide one-stop services to onboard and operate businesses on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms in China.

Having more experience, a TP can offer personalized products and services for brands and companies, ensuring effective operation and faster development of the online store.

The price of a TP depends on the extent and the quality of the services.

Tmall Partner functions:

  • Create an operation plan
  • Execute store opening
  • Decorate the store and enter the product information
  • Webstore maintenance: Product management, campaign planning, and execution
  • Execute day-to-day marketing and promotions: Network promotions, daily consumer marketing, brand marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Logistic services: Cross-border logistics, warehouse services, courier services
  • Webstore analytics

Some tips to find the right partner on Tmall

There are several ways to assess the quality of a TP:

Certified TP

It is important to choose and only work with certified TPs.

Tmall Partners have star partners based on performance assessments:

  • two-star TPs offer services to mid-sized brands
  • four-star TPs offer services to large brands
  • five-star TPs offer services to the most famous brands

The best way to identify the quality of a TP is to check the performance of the clients they manage. Most TPs would have a list of clients on their website.

National or international TP?

It is not essential to look at TPs’ nationality; however, companies need to make sure that their potential TPs have multilingual staff.

TPs can be divided into three different categories:

  • local TPs
  • international TPs with local offices
  • international TPs without local offices

Specific Industry

Picking up a TP that has experience in the company’s industry is essential. TPs should understand the Chinese market of the target industry.

Tmall holds a record of the rankings of various TPs, along with the number of stores they’re operating in each industry.

TP listing on TP Global website lists the recommended category for all listed Tmall Partners.

Wechat partner

As we said earlier, Wechat doesn’t just mean calls and messages. Wechat is above all a business media, platform that embodies B2C functionality.

But his business in China for foreign companies is still an impervious terrain. The lack of knowledge of the Chinese e-commerce market and of the tool itself, as a medium, are two of the main reasons.

On WeChat, the official pages of the brands that want to sell cannot contain hyperlinks directed to e-commerce pages: that’s why Mini-Programs have been created. These are sub-applications that allow you to develop real e-commerce inside the app.

The creation and management of mini-programs is another valid reason that pushes companies to rely on development agencies already able to offer a complete service. For two main reasons:

  1. The language, tutorials are partly in English but the program speaks Chinese. Having a professional who speaks Mandarin makes the project possible.
  2. Updates and frameworks are constantly changing, and keeping up with the developer community is not easy.

A WeChat Trade Partner can help you set up your brand on WeChat and generate sales on the platform.

Unlike Tmall Partners, most WeChat trade partners would charge fixed fees for operation. The total investment for a WeChat launch can be as low as $100,000 USD for the first year of operation, 1/10th of the required amount for a Tmall launch.

WeChat Trade Partner functions:

  • Create a WeChat Official Account
  • Set-up the WeChat Mini Program store
  • Design the store
  • Customer service
  • Influencer campaigns
  • CPC/CPM campaigns
  • Create WeChat content

Some tips to find the right partner on Wechat

Unlike Tmall, there is no official listing of partners from WeChat. However, you can find the right partner through:

Wechat mini-programs

One simple way to identify relevant WeChat partners is to look for WeChat mini-programs from brands you know are doing well in China.

Mentions on other social networks

Brands that are using a high-performing WeChat trade partner should also have a lot of mentions on WeChat, Little Red Book, Weibo, and other Chinese social networks.

You can use the search feature inside WeChat in order to check the number and frequency of mentions from each brand. You will have to scroll to the bottom of each article in order to see the view number for each article.

Choose a partner with a strong integration ability- GMA can be your best partner!

Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a Digital Marketing Agency that is an expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. Our services include:


  • Store Design
  • In-platform Advertising
  • Off-platform Marketing
  • Reporting & Analysis


  • Branding
  • Visibility
  • E-commerce
  • Loyalty
  • Customer service
  • Analysis

Do you want to know more about How to use Chinese e-commerce platforms to boost sales? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specializing in the Chinese digital market.

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  • Arild Karlsen

    Want to get in touch when it comes to online sales to China.

  • SwiftChat Live Chat App

    Amazing article Suzy great tips.

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