Golden Week, China’s national holiday that spanned Oct. 1 to 8 this year, prompted a surge in domestic spending which drove a robust rebound in consumption as pandemic effects begin to recede. Tiktok owner Bytedance tests cross-border e-commerce, and Tencent doubles it bet on livestreaming.

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China’s e-commerce and retail market offers a fire hose of products, choices, business models, rapidly changing content, and more. Here’s what you need to know about China’s online retail market for the week of Oct. 1 – 14.

Golden Week shines

  • Chinese tourists took 637 million domestic trips during the eight-day Golden Week, generating revenue of RMB 466.6 billion ($69.7 billion), according to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. However, China’s battered travel market still has a long road to recovery. This year’s number of domestic trips was around 80% of last year’s figure, even with the additional day, while revenue was 70% of last year’s RMB 650 billion. Trip.com, China’s largest online travel platform, trumpeted lackluster wins to offset the downturn in its lucrative international travel business. (TechNode)
  • China recorded RMB 3.7 billion of box office revenue from October 1 to 7, second only to last year’s RMB 4.5 billion during the same period, according to data from the National Film Special Fund Office. This year, the state mandated a 75% operating capacity for public places including theaters. China’s online ticketing services like Maoyan Entertainment and Alibaba-backed Taopiaopiao benefited the most from the surge. (Tencent News, in Chinese)
  • China Union Pay recorded online transaction volume of RMB 2.52 trillion during the holiday, up 8.3% year on year. China’s centralized online payment clearinghouse Nets Union Clearing Corporation reported that daily transaction value during the holiday increased 47% from the previous year, a sharp deceleration from the 163% annual growth seen during last year’s holiday. The number of daily transactions increased by nearly 42% year on year during the holiday, down from 80% annual growth last year. (Mpaypass, in Chinese)

Bytedance enters cross-border e-commerce

  • Bytedance, the owner of short video apps Douyin and Tiktok, is testing a cross-border e-commerce project named Fuxiang Haigou, which offers special sales for branded products from a dozen countries. The service is accessible through mini-programs on the company’s news aggregation app, Toutiao, as well as Douyin. (Ebrun, in Chinese)
  • Shein, Chinese fast fashion app primarily targeting overseas markets, entered a partnership with Canada’s installment payment service Paybright as the Nanjing-based company continues to expand its global footprint. With annual gross merchandise volume of RMB 20 billion in 2019, the Chinese fashion retailer’s popularity among teen consumers in the US, Europe, and the Middle Eastern markets is on the rise. The company is reportedly aiming for a US IPO this year. (Newswire)

Tencent gears up for livestream e-commerce

  • Tencent’s mega messaging app Wechat is reportedly testing on a select group of users a livestream function on Channels, the Douyin-like short video feature it launched in January. The feature does not support virtual gifting now but allows viewers to like and comment on the livestreams. The livestreamer can share the sessions in Wechat chat groups as well as their Moments newsfeeds. Integrating a livestream feature to Channels highlights Tencent’s ambition to tap into short video and livestream e-commerce business, creating a new facet for competition with Douyin and Kuaishou. (Sina Finance, in Chinese)

Alibaba vs. Miniso

  • Taobao Deals, Alibaba’s take on Pinduoduo targeting China’s bargain-seekers, opened its first offline experience store on Friday, selling products from manufacturing partners for as low as RMB 1. The move helped promote an online shopping campaign on the low-priced shopping app from Oct. 10 – 31. The company reportedly plans to open 1,000 such stores within three years. Taobao Deals, also known as Taobao Tejia, said it had around 40 million monthly active users as of June 2020, growing rapidly after a major update in March. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s expansion to offline retail for low-price products competes with Tencent-backed household product brand Miniso. Miniso filed its prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in late September for a New York listing. (Ebrun, in Chinese)

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.