E-Commerce in China

Graf von Westphalen, OAV – German Asia-Pacific Business Association, and Global Smiling jointly organized an event to inform and discuss about e-commerce in China. The event took place at the premises of Graf von Westphalen in Hamburg on 21 November 2017.


The Chinese e-commerce sector is set to reach a volume of around 871 billion Euros by 2018 and be as huge as the markets of the USA, Japan, Great Britain, Germany and France combined by 2020. The potential for profit is tremendous, especially for producers and suppliers of high-quality products “Made in Germany”, which are increasingly requested by Chinese consumers. However, entering the market seems to be difficult – hard to predict consumer behavior, unwritten rules of online etiquette and regulatory challenges pose serious challenges for western participants who want to gain their share of the market.

The e-Commerce experts Patrick Heid of Graf von Westphalen and Xin Deng of Global Smiling briefed the participants on the newest developments of the Chinese online landscape, focusing on practical advice regarding marketing and product placement as well as legal hurdles in the Chinese market.

Patrick Heid started the event by showcasing numbers and statistics on Chinese consumer behavior, the rapid development of online shopping and services and the increasing importance of heavily marketed shopping holidays.

In the following presentation Xin Deng introduced the audience to the four giants of Chinese online services – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Sina (BATS) – and described in detail in how far the different platforms are interconnected and what steps need to be taken to ensure success when setting up an online store. Xin Deng finished his presentation with some in-depth practical advice for getting started in the Chinese e-commerce business, mentioning a new consultant and marketing organization called Xiji.com.

In the final presentation, Patrick Heid focused on the legal aspects of the Chinese e-commerce market and what kind of issues are to be expected from a German organization’s point of view, especially when facing the relatively vague and still developing jurisprudence in this sector.

OAV will keep you updated on trends and developments regarding e-commerce in China.