Queensland exporters hoping to capitalise on China’s huge ecommerce market should consider using social media to target young consumers in smaller cities.

That’s the message from Senior Business Development Manager at TIQ Shanghai Ms Li Chen, who attended China’s 8th E-Commerce Annual Conference earlier this month.

‘In 2020, brands expect youth in lower-tier cities to provide the next wave of growth through social commerce purchases as consumption growth slows in major cities,’ Ms Chen said.

‘Social commerce is when consumers make purchases through social media apps like WeChat, which has more than 1 billion users.

‘Purchasing through these apps is transforming ecommerce in China and its influence is expected to expand in 2020.’

China’s ‘lower-tier’ cities represent a major opportunity, with around 70 cities falling into this category (in contrast to the major population centres classified as Tier 1 and Tier 2).

Companies including ecommerce giant JD.com (China’s second-largest B2C online retailer and Alibaba’s major competitor) are now using WeChat Mini Programs for customers to place orders.

By using mini-programs, which are built completely within WeChat, businesses don’t need to create their own standalone app for ecommerce in China.

Ms Chen said the conference also highlighted the rising importance of young consumers.

‘Young consumers are more likely to make purchases using social media apps based on friends’ or key opinion leaders’ recommendations,’ she said.

‘With 5G mobile networks enabling faster live streaming, the importance of user-generated content as an integral part of the online shopping experience will only continue to grow.’

Ecommerce transactions in Shanghai alone reached $694 billion in 2019.

The 8th E-Commerce Annual Conference was held on 7 January at Crown Plaza Shanghai.

China is identified as a major export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

TIQ has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. If you’d like help exporting to China, connect with TIQ China today.