While China’s insatiable consumers are still recovering from their hangover on Singles Day—the country’s equivalent of Black Friday and now the world’s largest shopping spree—Amazon China is bringing the real Black Friday to the country as Thanksgiving falls on Thursday this week.
Many Chinese shoppers may not be aware, but the American e-commerce giant has been running its Chinese version of Black Friday since 2014. The 72-hour campaign comes in less than two weeks after Singles Day and aims to capture China’s increasing appetite for imported products. With discounts on oversea brands aside, Amazon Prime members are eligible for unlimited domestic and international free shipping.
This year will mark Amazon China’s largest Black Friday by the number of products on sale, the company claims. On Amazon China’s curated list of “must-buy” items are some of the favorites among China’s rising middle-class, such as UGG’s classic cuff tall boots, Sam Edelman’s over-the-knee boots, Bose’s noise-canceling headphones, and Phillips’s electric toothbrush.
Despite its dominance in many Western countries, Amazon has yet to crack the Chinese market. Amazon Prime made its foray into Asia last year and quickly took off in India, but its future remains obscure in China where local competitors Alibaba and JD.com dominate. According to iResearch and the US Department of Commerce, Amazon holds less than 1% of China’s B2C e-commerce market in 2016. The rest is divided up by Alibaba’s Tmall at 56.6% followed by JD.com at 24.7%. The country’s cross-border e-commerce market is a fierce competition between Alibaba’s Tmall, JD.com, and NetEase’s Kaola.
Amazon has sought to continue its Chinese e-commerce dream through working with local players, including its $20 million funding in Chinese online food vendor Yummy 77 in 2014 and a strategic partnership China’s electronics appliance maker GOME starting April 2016.