Expand Your Ecommerce Brand into China with Shopify’s JD Marketplace Channel

Sell on JD Marketplace with Shopify

As an online retailer, the ability to sell your products in China brings a massive opportunity. The market is growing exponentially, and by 2024, it’s expected to make up more than 58% of global online retail—a whopping $3.5 trillion.

But merchants looking to expand into China are bombarded with obstacles. The Chinese market is unlike any other, which typically makes market expansion here time-consuming and requires localization efforts. Retailers face complex and nuanced challenges like:

  • Complicated tax and customs requirements
  • Language translation to simplified Chinese
  • Pricing conversion to local currency
  • Cross-border logistics coordination

That’s why we’re excited to announce the JD Marketplace sales channel for Shopify merchants in the US. This channel helps merchants sell on JD.com, one of China’s largest online marketplaces and retailers.

The JD Marketplace channel offers merchants like you an “all-in-one” solution for selling into China. It offers an expedited pathway, simplifying the application process, product listings, logistics, translations, international taxes, payments, and more.

Let’s look closer at what JD Marketplace is, why you should consider selling in China, and how to sell on JD.com with Shopify.

What is JD Marketplace?

JD.com, also known as Jingdong, is China’s second-largest online retailer by gross merchandise value (GMV). You may have heard it referred to as “the Amazon of China.” On an international scale, it ranks as the third biggest ecommerce retailer in the world behind Alibaba and Amazon.

While it also offers a direct sales model, JD’s main draw is its online marketplace model. JD.com allows retailers and brands from around the world to sell products directly to its consumers.

Through the direct sales model, JD sources products from suppliers and brands, then sells them directly to customers via its web and mobile sales channels.

JD.com holds 16.9% of China’s retail ecommerce sales, pulling in 550 million customers in 2021. These impressive stats have earned the company a coveted spot in Fortune 100.

Top 6 Companies in China, Ranked by Retail Ecommerce Sales Share, 2021 - eMarketer

Source

JD.com (and newer market entrant Pinduoduo) are steadily growing on Alibaba’s lead, challenging its dominance and showing that the market is diversifying.

This growth isn’t surprising. JD’s leadership has a keen eye on retail, shopping, and technology trends. They’ve invested heavily into their tech, with powerful AI and autonomous tech, resulting in the world’s largest drone-based delivery infrastructure and capabilities.

These factors, in addition to a strict vetting process and high-quality merchants, make JD.com one of China’s most recognized and trusted ecommerce platforms.

Simply put: JD.com is a global powerhouse, and it’s only going to continue growing.

Reasons for selling online in China 

Have you been thinking about selling online in China, but not quite sure you’re ready to take the plunge? Here are a few reasons why you should start.

China’s ecommerce market is enormous

China holds more than half of the world’s ecommerce market share—more than the US and Europe combined. It also has the world’s largest digital buyer population of more than 780 million people. These numbers continue to grow by the day.

When looking at the magnitude of China’s ecommerce market, consider the example of two major shopping holidays: China’s Singles’ Day vs. the US’s Thanksgiving weekend (Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

For Single’s Day 2021, Alibaba and JD.com racked up a record-breaking $139 billion in sales. Alibaba’s GMV totaled $84.54 billion, marking 8% growth from 2020. While JD.com had a lower GMV of $54.6 billion, it marked an impressive 28% increase from 2020. 

Meanwhile, Black Friday and Cyber Monday seemed measly in comparison, coming in at $19.6 billion—a slight decrease from 2020’s $19.8 billion.

China has unmatched ecommerce ecosystems

China has nearly mastered the art of creating ecommerce ecosystems—single entry points where shoppers can access every purchase they want and need to make.

The country has developed its own payment apps and processors, ecommerce platforms, and social media. They all integrate to create seamless, uninterrupted online environments that keep users constantly active and engaged.

This is part of the reason that online marketplaces like JD.com dominate China’s ecommerce landscape. They’re one-stop-shops for convenience and selection.

Frankly, the Western world has a lot to learn—and we’re taking notes.

Chinese customers are avid international shoppers

According to a report from RetailX, 68% of Chinese shoppers viewed foreign goods as having higher quality than Chinese manufactured goods. This helps to explain why China saw a 16% boost in cross-border ecommerce in 2019.

Leading cross-border categories include beauty and cosmetics, food and beverage, baby products, fashion and luxury goods, and jewelry. But don’t worry—even if your brand doesn’t specialize in these categories, there’s still plenty of buying power to go around.

When you zoom out to look at current trends and future projections, it’s a no-brainer that expanding into China presents big opportunities for online retailers.

Benefits of selling through the JD Marketplace channel

Shopify’s JD Marketplace channel is a one-of-its-kind solution for merchants who feel restrained by the obstacles of selling in China. Let’s take a look at common merchant problems you might be experiencing and how JD Marketplace helps solve them.

Benefits of selling through Shopify's JD Marketplace channel

Merchant's Problem JD Marketplace's Solution
It costs 6-figures+ in recurring costs to set up a business in China, even on JD.com. The partnership with Shopify and JD creates an accelerated onboarding process with no setup fee and a simple commission structure.
Setting up on JD.com usually takes 6-12 months. Expedited process and tools made for Shopify bring that to 3-4 weeks.
Crossborder logistics are complicated, forcing merchants to vet service providers to handle crossborder shipping, customs clearance, and last mile delivery. Merchants can ship to a JD US Warehouse and JD will take it from the US to the end buyer in China.
Taxes and local payment methods aren’t easy for Shopify merchants to set up. JD allows buyers to pay with RMB in their preferred China wallet and automatically collects the appropriate corresponding taxes from the buyer at checkout. It then remits the taxes based on local tax regulation. Meanwhile, the merchant gets paid in USD.
Translating products into other languages is challenging. JD does that with automated smart translation, which also ensures language complies with local regulation.
DTC ecommerce is not common in China—only about 10% of sales happen on a brand’s .com site. JD.com is the largest retailer, and marketplaces represent 90% of ecommerce sales.

How to sell on JD.com with Shopify

Now that you know the reasons to sell online in China, what’s next? The process can seem daunting, but fret not. Shopify is helping you break into the market faster and easier than you would if you were starting from scratch. You can be up and running in just a few weeks.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can get started.

Note: On YouTube, you’ll find several step-by-step tutorials for how to set up and succeed with Shopify’s JD Marketplace channel. We’ll cover the bases here, but be sure to check out those tutorials for more in-depth guidance.

Step 1: Install the JD Marketplace channel

To install JD Marketplace, visit the app’s listing in the Shopify app store. While logged into your Shopify account, click Add app within the listing. Then Add sales channel inside your Shopify dashboard.

How to install the JD Marketplace channel to your Shopify admin

Step 2: Register your JD Marketplace account

The next step is to register and gain approval to sell on the JD Marketplace.

In your Shopify dashboard, you’ll find a button that says Register JD account now. Before you start the registration process, make sure you have the electronic versions of these key documents ready:

  • Company business license
  • Legal representative’s passport or driver’s license
  • Bank account information
  • Brand certificate
Shopify: Register your JD Marketplace account

As you move into registration, you’ll be prompted to follow a 4-step process. During this process, you’ll be asked to provide:

  1. Your contact information
  2. Company information
  3. Relevant after-sales information
  4. Bank account information

Keep in mind that it can take up to 5 business days before your application is approved, so sit tight once you complete your submission.

Step 3: Sync your Shopify store’s products

Once you submit your registration application, you’ll be able to start the process of syncing your store’s products with JD Marketplace.

There are 3 steps to sync your products:

  1. Select the products you’d like to synchronize. You can do so by clicking the product, clicking Sales channels and apps, and checking the “JD Marketplace” box.
  2. Fill in customs information for each product.
  3. Publish products once they’re approved.

When you add a product to be synchronized, the channel will automatically translate text, convert currency, and manage customs and taxes with FX rates already factored in.

Pro tip: When editing product details to sync products, you’ll have the option to offer a 7-day return service promise. This gives customers the option to return a product within 7 days of receiving it, without providing any reason for the return.

While this poses a risk, keep in mind that JD customers are more likely to make a purchase if you offer this service promise. It’s worth your consideration!

Step 4: Ship your products to the US-based JD warehouse

Worried about the time and headache of shipping products to China? No problem.

To fulfill your orders, add the unique JD order barcode to your package and ship them to the JD Logistics USA export facility located in City of Industry, California. From there, JD Logistics will handle the rest, ensuring that your products get where they need to go.

Once you ship packages to the facility, you’ll be able to track them inside your Shopify account. Just navigate to the order’s page and scroll down to the Timeline section to see updates.

Selling in China just got way easier

While China poses incredible growth opportunities for international retailers, many have been sitting on the sidelines, unable to crack the code on how to enter the market.

Until now, that is.

Shopify’s JD Marketplace channel provides the all-in-one solution for selling in China. It handles everything from product listing to customs and duties to payments. In addition to being fast-tracked into the marketplace, you’ll be able to sell on JD.com while continuing to manage everything from Shopify, including orders, inventory, and fulfillment.

About the author

Adeel Qayum

Adeel Qayum is a writer and content strategist based in Southeast Asia. He helps businesses with their online marketing endeavours, writes for top magazines and publications, and dances salsa in his free time.