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Home > Knowledge Centre > How to Sell Your Food & Beverage Products Online in China

How to Sell Your Food & Beverage Products Online in China

By EU SME Centre | Guidelines      11.01.2017     Tags: Food & Beverages

649 million Chinese are now online and using the internet to purchase goods at a level which is unprecedented. For small businesses outside of China, e-commerce channels present an opportunity to access this fast-developing and dynamic market.

One area that has grown particularly quickly is online grocery shopping. According to China Internet Watch, online purchases of packaged food (34 times a year) and fresh food (24 times year) occur more frequently than purchases of apparel (22 times a year). E-commerce for Food & Beverages in China is mainly carried out customer-to-customer (C2C) and business-to-customer (B2C), with the latter type of transaction gaining increasing importance. E-commerce platforms like Tmall and Jing Dong offer online marketplaces and open business opportunities to well-established retailers wanting access to Chinese e-commerce.

The present ‘How to Guide’ provides insights on the e-commerce market for food and beverages in China, enabling you to quickly gain an understanding of the opportunities in the market and more importantly how to access them.  

This 70-page guide includes flow diagrams, charts and cost comparison tables which allow you to quickly learn which platform will work best for your product, how to set up the right E-commerce model, and get the knowledge to develop your E-commerce strategy in China, including how to price your product, set payment methods, and understand tax liabilities.

"Especially beneficial to small business producers, export managers, cooperatives, online retailers, distributors and brand owners in the food and drink sector."


Market Overview 
  • China Online Selling: Market Overview          
  • Food and Beverage Online Shopping         
Selling F&B Online in China  
  • Domestic Sales Model
  • Platform Selection      
  • Overview and Description of the Main Platforms       
  • How to Set up Your Shop       
  • Traditional Distribution Going Online 
  • Logistics         
  • Legal and Tax Update: New Regulatory Environment , IPR, Technical Barriers,Free Trade Zones, Taxes  
  • Payment Methods       
  • Price Build-up 
  • Process and Timeline    
Strategy and Action Plan         
Main Challenges  
Main Options for Small Businesses    
Choosing the Right Option for Your Business
Online and Offline Promotion: Online Promotion, Search Engines, Offline Promotion  
Online B2B Market     
Opportunities and Challenges

About the Authors

Pablo Recio Gracia, EU SME Centre Expert

Pablo has extensive experience in supporting European small businesses in the Chinese market, particularly in the food and drink sector.

He is a specialist in market access for food and beverages to China, and assists companies in setting up in China, finding business partners, understanding technical barriers, developing market entry strategies and positioning products in the market.

Pablo is Managing Director of Eibens and has been living in China since 2005. He previously worked for public agencies including ICEX (Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade) and Extenda (Trade Promotion Agency of Andalusia) as well as private companies.

Rafael Jimenez, Business Development Advisor, EU SME Centre

With more than six years’ hands-on experience in managing a business in China, Rafael offers advice for European SMEs in developing practical market entry strategies in the country. Following a career at a senior level within the F&B and ICT industry, he arrived in China in 2009 as Director of a Spanish F&B company involved in the restaurant and trade business. He helped the company set up a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in China, ran operations for three years and led a team of more than 100 employees. More recently he was Shanghai Office Director at a Management Consultancy Firm. Born in Spain, Rafael holds a bachelor of Physics and has three sons.


Domenico Di Liello, Knowledge Centre Coordinator, EU SME Centre

Domenico Di Liello is supporting EU SMEs in their business development to China at the EU SME Centre in Beijing. Having joined in 2012, Domenico conducts research on different aspects of the Chinese business environment, with a special focus on the green-tech and E-commerce sectors. He has worked on various B2B events and trade missions in China. He first moved to China in 2006 and has been living in China consecutively since 2010. He is particularly interested in field research on the environmental sustainability of Chinese economic growth. Domenico holds a Masters degree in Political Sciences and a Bachelors degree in Literature and Philosophy from Naples University “L’Orientale”. He also has a Masters degree from the School of Economics at the Renmin University of China, Beijing.



The report was drafted in collaboration with external creators, who worked under service agreements with the Consortium running the EU SME Centre Phase II. The copyrights and intellectual property of this publication belong to the Consortium partner China-Britain Business Council. The latter was authorised by and acted on behalf of the Consortium running EU SME Centre in China Phase II. The China-Britain Business Council, which is currently part of the Consortium running the EU SME Centre in China Phase III, has granted the rights of use of this report to the current Consortium. The report is therefore re-published and made available during the EU SME Centre Phase III.

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