Beijing rolled out on Tuesday draft rules to curb anti-competitive practices at tech companies. The China International Import Expo (CIIE), a government-backed trade fair, was held Nov. 5 – 10 to promote cross-border e-commerce amid a bruising trade war and global pandemic. Alibaba and e-commerce service provider Youzan both released their earnings reports for the third quarter of this year.

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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 Nov. 5 – 11.

Tightened control from Beijing

  • China’s State Administration for Market Regulation issued draft rules with the aim to block potentially unfair competition from tech giants leveraging their market dominance.
  • The new rule could affect Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com, and Meituan—Chinese tech titans that cultivate their own, usually exclusive, ecosystems.
  • The draft rules covers a group of anti-monopolistic practices such as forced exclusivity and price discrimination, where customers are asked to pay different prices for the same product, based on data gathered from users.
  • Chinese tech shares fell on the news in Hong Kong. Meituan shares plunged 10.5% on Tuesday, while JD.com sank 8.3%. Alibaba dropped 5.1% and Tencent declined 4.4% the same day. (Reuters)

READ MORE: Explainer: China’s tech ecosystems and the barriers between them

E-commerce giants at CIIE

  • At the third annual China International Import Expo (CIIE), Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba said Thursday that it had fulfilled its pledge to import goods worth $200 billion by 2023 despite the uncertainties brought by the coronavirus pandemic. It surpassed its first-year goal by 123%, and hit its second-year goal by 102%, according the company. The number of new foreign brands selling through Tmall Global, Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform, surged 125% compared with a year ago to more than 26,000 from 84 countries. (Tencent News, in Chinese)
  • JD.com said that it on track to achieve its target of buying RMB 400 billion (around $61 billion) in imported brand goods by 2021, a goal the firm set at the second CIIE held last year. The company reached its 2019 target of importing RMB 100 billion in imported goods set at the first expo in 2018. (Jrj.com, in Chinese)
  • The escalating intentions between China and Australia raised concerns among Chinese importers of Australian products, vendors at CIIE said. China is reportedly planning to ban at least seven categories from Australia including coal, wood, wine, and lobster. Australia joined this year’s CIIE after saying earlier that it would pull out from the event. (SCMP)
  • China said that it hopes cross-border commerce to play a bigger role in invigorating foreign trade. (CGTN)
  • Beijing rolled out Monday a new guideline for the development of the import trade industry, encouraging the the development of cross-border e-commerce pilot zones, setting up an evaluation system for the pilot zones, and building inventory centers abroad. (Ebrun, in Chinese)

Alibaba, Youzan

  • Alibaba posted better-than-expected results Thursday with revenue rising 30% year on year to RMB 155 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30. However, the company’s share price in New York weakened on slower sales growth and the suspension of finch affiliate Ant Group’s IPO. (TechNode)
  • Youzan, the Chinese e-commerce service provider backed by Tencent and Baidu, earned RMB 1.3 billion in revenue during the third quarter, rising 65.4% year on year. Merchants using Youzan booked RMB 72.3 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) during the time period, outperforming the same period last year by 90%. Youzan chief executive officer Zhu Ning said in an internal letter on Monday that he expects GMV for Youzan merchants to exceed RMB 100 billion this year. Zhu noted in the letter that the company is upgrading its investment unit and is looking to invest in ecosystem partners, corporate service peers, and new merchants. (Youzan, in Chinese)

Updated: added details about vendors importing Australian goods at CIIE.

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.