tmall.hk_Screenshot of Tmall International

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group recently launched Tmall International, a site dedicated for business entities outside China, where overseas brands and merchants can sell their products directly to Chinese online shoppers.

The newly launched international platform provides genuine products that are produced or sold in overseas markets. In addition, the platform offers a direct delivery service. Merchants on the platform also offer Chinese language customer service through Alibaba’s instant messaging platform Alitalk, as well as 72-hour shipping, and product return facilities in mainland China.

More than 140 foreign merchants from the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, etc. have settled on the platform, including B2C sites like Bonjour, Strawberrynet, Etmall, Kenko, as well as premium brands, such as Anna Sui and NYR. To prepare for the launch, Tmall International has been recruiting international businesses since July last year.

International merchants who want to join the platform have to pay an initial deposit of $25,000 and a yearly fee based on the types of goods they sell. TMall International will also collect a service fee of either 5% or 6% per transaction, depending on the product, according the requirements released by the site.

At the current stage, online shoppers can purchase baby products, healthcare products, beauty products and apparel on the site.

Tmall International will run independently as a subsidiary of Alibaba, affiliating to the newly established International B2C Department, which also oversees Alibaba’s global shopping arm AliExpress and Taobao Overseas, a unit focused on Southeast Asian market.

Chinese online shoppers’ demands to purchase cheaper and better products outside China surged in recent years, mainly focused on the fields of infant formula and maternal products, foreign-branded cosmetics and luxury goods, among others.

The market size for Chinese online Daigou industry, which means buying via overseas contacts through Taobao or other professional buyer agencies and websites, surpassed 70 billion yuan ($11.49 billion) in 2013, according to data released by Alibaba.

image credit: Tmall