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Cross-border e-commerce in China and Southeast Asia

Market Insights | March 11, 2024

In the relatively young, tech-savvy society in China and the ASEAN countries, a high demand in the local e-commerce market exists. However, due to international trade and representation of products on social media, Western goods are also frequently and readily purchased, which means that cross border eCommerce (CBEC) offers a lot of opportunities.

Whether B2B or B2C, cross-border e-commerce offers sellers access to a significantly larger customer base, opens new market opportunities, and creates growth opportunities.

CBEC differs from conventional e-commerce in its transnational nature. This means that companies that are neither based nor have a warehouse in the ASEAN region can sell their goods via various platforms. Although this is possible in China, certain regulations and requirements need to be considered.

Nevertheless, both markets are promising. According to certain forecasts, the e-commerce market value in Southeast Asia is expected to grow to USD 150 billion by 2025. Based on 2015 (USD 5.5 billion), this would represent a growth of 2627% within 10 years. Indonesia is expected to account for USD 82 billion and Vietnam USD 23 billion by 2025. With USD 2.68 trillion, the Chinese market is many times larger than the ASEAN market and nearly twice as large as the US market (in 2022: USD 1.03 trillion)

When it comes to sales, one company is frequently found in both B2B and B2C business: the Alibaba group.

In the Chinese B2B sector, Alibaba can be found under its own company name. Alternatively, “Jing Dong Worldwide” (JD Worldwide), with a market share of around 20%, or “Baidu” also offer several opportunities. Alibaba is also known under its own name in the ASEAN region. However, there are also platforms such as Buy2sell or (in a limited form) eBay.

Platforms such as “Tmall” and “Netease Koala” are strongly represented on the B2C market in China, both are subsidiaries of the Alibaba Group. Alibaba is also strongly represented on the ASEAN market with “Lazada”. Furthermore, “Shopee”, a subsidiary of “Sea” Ltd. based in Singapore, is a very popular go-to.

Are you interested in expanding via the B2B platform Alibaba? You can find more information about our Alibaba service here.

Would you prefer to become active in the B2C sector and to expand digitally to Southeast Asia via the Lazada.com platform? You can find more information about our Lazada partnership here.

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