(Yicai Global) June 22 -- China’s third-largest e-commerce firm Vipshop Holdings aims to almost triple sales of import products from the US by 2020 in an effort to meet growing demand from the country’s ever-increasing affluent middle class.
The Guangzhou-based firm has upped its annual sales target for US imports to USD6 billion for 2020 from 2.2 billion last year, online news outlet Sina cited Head of Global Strategic Procurement Wang Zicui as saying at company forum in New York.
"The rising purchasing power of China's middle-class, their strong demand for authentic goods, and the growing opportunities for domestic online retailers have created a good platform for American brands to enter the Chinese market," Wang said.
Chinas middle class has exploded in recent years on the back of the country’s rapid economic growth, reaching 430 million at the turn of last year, according to US-based Brookings Institute. China’s relatively well-off population is expected to reach some 780 million by the mid-2020s. The rise in affluence has led to a higher level of sophistication among consumers and demand for premium products from abroad is increasing.
Vipshop operates VIP.com, an online retail platform focused on apparel. US brands are particularly popular on the site, accounting for two-thirds of total sales of imported products.
Tech heavyweight Tencent Holdings led a USD863 million investment in the platform at the end of last year, taking a 7 percent stake, as part of efforts to keep up with Taobao operator Alibaba Group Holding in the e-commerce sector. JD.Com, China’s second-biggest online seller also increased its stake in VIP.com following the move.
China's e-commerce sales increased by about one-third annually to USD1.1 trillion last year, data from consultancy eMarketer shows. Total sales of overseas products in the country are expected to hit USD1.5 trillion this year.
Editor: William Clegg