Over the same period, Tmall Global almost doubled its product categories to more than 3,700, from 63 countries and regions. Eighty percent of the 14,500 brands on Tmall Global in 2016 were using the platform to enter the Chinese market for the first time.
Alibaba released the figures just a few days after the company’s founder and executive chairman Jack Ma made headlines for meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, vowing to create one million U.S. jobs by enabling small American businesses to sell goods on Alibaba’s platforms.
Beauty products were the most popular category for cross-border e-commerce; followed by food, baby products, clothes and shoes, the report said.
Most of the beauty and personal-care products came from Japan and Korea (number one and three on Tmall Global’s list of originating countries for cross-border e-commerce), while the U.S., Germany and Australia also made the top five on the back of demand for their health foods and supplements, as well as baby products and milk powder.
According to the report, China’s cross-border e-commerce customers are getting younger, with more than 50 percent of them born since 1988, and are most likely to come from major eastern centers such as Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen — though more and more of them are from lower-tier cities. Over 31 percent of Tmall Global’s new customers in 2016 were from Third and Fourth Tier cities, compared to about 24 percent of the existing customer base.
On the same day, Alibaba Group’s wholesale trading platform, Alibaba.com announced a cooperation agreement that would see approved members of the world’s largest logistics network, WCA Ltd., incorporated into its platform for cross-border e-commerce shipments.
From this month, WCA will vet and approve international logistics providers for Alibaba.com customers. These approved providers will then be able to compete for logistics orders generated on the Alibaba.com platform.
“Many of our member companies are already heavily involved in many facets of cross-border e-commerce logistics. The strict qualification process for our newly formed WCA e-commerce network will provide reassurance that the services provided by our members can facilitate merchants on Alibaba.com to accelerate their global trading,” said Dan March, WCA’s chief executive officer.