How to Export to China via E-Commerce

  • Date
    20 June 2024
  • Beijing Time
    16:00 - 17:30
  • Brussels Time
    10:00 - 11:30
  • Location
  • Venue
  • Open to
    All European SMEs
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Cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) presents an opportunity for European companies looking to enter the Chinese market. This direct access path does not require the costly and time-consuming approval and registration procedures that are associated with traditional export channels. Goods sold via CBEC are considered personal goods and can be sold in their original packaging and label; they also enjoy preferential import taxation. Therefore, CBEC is particularly useful for retail and consumer goods, especially (but not only) in the cosmetics and F&B industries.

Still, CBEC still presents a number of challenges. There are different platforms that can be used for CBEC, a wide range of marketing options, and fierce competition. Not all products can be sold via CBEC and some products need to be placed in a bonded warehouse in China. While simplifying customs processes, an e-commerce only strategy means an absence of physical retail outlets that poses inherent challenges in customer service and to manage product returns. Therefore, CBEC requires a certain level of investment, commitment and market knowledge.

On 20 June, the EU SME Centre and the Slovenian-Chinese Business Council – SKPS are organising a webinar to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of CBEC, its opportunities and challenges. Concrete examples and cases from other European companies will be provided. EU SME Centre’s Business Advisor Alessio Petino will explain how CBEC can serve as a gateway for European enterprises venturing into the Chinese market, reaching consumers without the complexities of traditional export protocols. He will highlight recent regulatory changes, including the broadening of the Positive List and heightened purchase thresholds for Chinese buyers.

Agenda (Brussels Time)


Opening remarks


Selling to China via Cross-Border E-Commerce: Opportunities, Challenges, and Examples from European SMEs
Alessio Petino, Business Advisor, EU SME Centre


Q&A session

Keynote speaker
Alessio Petino
Business Advisor, EU SME Centre

Alessio has worked for 8+ years on various EU-funded projects in China, mainly conducting policy and regulatory analysis for European companies looking to enter or already in the Chinese market. Key focus areas: market access regulations and barriers, investment attraction policies, standards & compliance – with particular focus on R&D, tech & innovation.

Alessio joined the EU SME Centre in October 2020. He coordinates reports, guidelines and technical assistance to European SMEs; he also delivers training about different market entry approaches and engagements with China, opportunities and risks, as well as do’s and don’ts.

More on cross-border e-commerce to China

Our dedicated report on CBEC describes the key differences between general trade and traditional e-commerce, as well as considerations on costs and taxation. We then detail the procedures for EU SMEs to start selling on the most popular CBEC platforms that are currently present in China, mainly Tmall Global, JD Worldwide, Kaola, Xiaohongshu, and WeChat. We also compare the pros and cons of selling via one’s own website rather than on the above platforms, and we provide an English translation of the consolidated CBEC Positive List of products that can be sold via cross-border e-commerce.

The report contains four case studies with insights and tips on the opportunities, challenges, mistakes and lessons for EU SMEs entering the Chinese market via CBEC, as well as the typical steps and elements that are taken into account to develop and implement a CBEC market entry and growth strategy. Among these case studies, a company details the process of opening and running a Belgian F&B Store on Tmall Global. Read the report >

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