China is seeing more and more goods are shipped overseas to individuals, instead of wholesalers. That must be one of the reasons that Alibaba has been transforming its business-to-business e-commerce platform AliExpress to a business-to-customers one by encouraging Taobao retailers to set up stores there. Lightinthebox, a US-listed online retailer with 98% of the total orders from outside China, started from a B2B model but later shifted to the B2C as finding that 80% of goods were sold to individuals, according to Bao Fan, one of its investors (in Chinese).
It doesn’t mean the wholesaling sector is shrinking in terms of goods shipped outside China, but some people find the shipping requests by individuals were different, and see room in improving the service or creating new ways.
BoxC, a Shanghai-based startup, tries to offer 4X faster and 50% cheaper a shipping service for China-based online retailers. It has collection centers in Shanghai to receive goods from across China and dispatch centers in the U.S. BoxC hopes to help increase sales and customers for retailers. It recently joined in the latest accelerator program of 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley-based incubator and early-stage investment fund.
Canyouship.it wants to create shipping demand. Going to launch on July 1st, it is a webapp that lets you post your trips on a map and see the trips of your friends and second circle friends and make requests for shipping. A chat lets you accept/refuse requests and manage details. It’s based on confidence and mutual trust amongst friends, so it is only open to your friends and their friends. Users should always know what is inside a box and refuse to ship resealed containers.
Based in Shanghai and founded by an expat, it’s target users are not necessarily Chinese. It encourages you to request and ship typical products, exclusive to some countries. A section dedicated to inspiration will be added later to let users know what is hot in any given country. It will also include a sections for laws and regulations, so you will know what you can ship or not ship, whether you travel by road, sea, air, rail, space, etc.