Home International Online demand for Chinese goods rises in India

Online demand for Chinese goods rises in India

Imports from China to India are expected to cross $80 bn by 2018

New Delhi, June 27, 2016: Made in China, a reality in the Indian brick-and-mortar retail sector for long, is now spreading big time across the e-commerce market as well. Be it in fashion clothing, accessories, home and gardening items or electronics, as well as in some bizarre categories.

Most online e-commerce marketplaces, including Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Paytm and Shopclues, offer Chinese goods on their platforms. Most of these are not directly sold by Chinese sellers but through suppliers in India which ship these into the country.
According to government figures, India’s import of Chinese goods, $51 billion in 2013, rose to $60 billion in 2014, and $61.54 billion last year.

These imports were expected to cross $80 billion by 2018. Experts said a chunk of it would be via e-commerce, with biggies such as Alibaba set to make a direct foray into India.

Among the e-commerce companies, Paytm was perhaps more bullish on Chinese goods. The leading mobile payment wallet in the country, which also has a marketplace, is working with Indian sellers to enable them to source products from China.

The company plans to connect 10,000 Indian sellers with large Chinese suppliers by the end of this year, giving them access to at least five million products from China.

“Paytm connects Indian sellers with trusted larger suppliers from who already supply globally and help them with logistics as well. For efficient and optimised supply chain, the cross-border plans will offer support of bonded warehouses in India and consolidation centres at the source countries. The company is piloting with fashion accessories category and will add mobile accessories and home decor later,” the company said.

Paytm already has a large catalogue of China-made products, helped by its association with Alibaba, largest investor in the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-promoted company.

“Many Indian sellers don’t have the capability to fly to China to check quality, variety and buy goods,” explained Paytm president Bhushan Patil, who earlier had a five-year stint with Alibaba. “This is where we bridge the gap.”

Another marketplace player, ShopClues, has partnered with Chinese business-to-business e-commerce website DHgate to expand its wholesaler platform. The company plans more such international tie-ups.

“If you look at ecommerce, a lot of the merchandise starting from expensive mobile phones to other items are all made in China and shipped to India. E-commerce is a channel they have used for a while. With Alibaba making a play in India, the trend is surely going to rise,” said Harish H V, Partner-India Leadership team, Grant Thornton India LLP.

Alibaba has around 8.5 million active sellers on its platform, most of whom would be selling in India once it enters the country.

By Karan Choudhury