It is no exaggeration to say that cross-border online shopping is standing at the cusp of the next great leap forward for China’s booming e-commerce sector. The industry recorded sales of over RMB3 trillion (roughly US$483 billion) in the first half of 2014, of which RMB300 billion came from cross-border retailing, according to data from the China E-commerce Research Center. The compound annual growth rate of China’s cross-border e-commerce trade value stood at 31% during 2008-2013, while the total number of cross-border online shoppers exceeded 18 million in 2013, according a Nielsen survey. The growing market has thus attracted many new entrants to share the growing cake.

Chinese internet company NetEase opened its cross-border e-commerce site Kaola for public test on January 8, expanding beyond its home turf as a news portal and email provider. Kaola now offers a variety of products in baby and maternal care, healthcare, personal care and cosmetics, and plans to expand beyond these categories after its formal launch. According product type and users’ requirements, the goods are either shipped from domestic bonded warehouses (taking 1-3 days for delivery) or from overseas directly (which take 7-30 days).

There is no doubt Kaola could pick up users quickly from NetEase’s existing user base. But going beyond that is not the only factor leading to a successful e-commerce platform: other crucial aspects include product management, logistics and supply chain management, for instance.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.