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More Mainlanders are Seeking to Buy Overseas Products via Online Agents


Daigou China - Observer Solutions Blog

Due to China’s exorbitant tariffs, the price of luxury and many other overseas goods in mainland China is on average one third higher than the price of the same products in the US or Europe. As a result, Chinese consumers love to travel to shopping destinations in the US, Europe and Japan to purchase overseas products at dramatically lower prices than what they would otherwise have to pay at a brick and mortar outlet in Beijing or Shanghai.

Other than traveling, more Chinese consumers are now turning to new channels- “HaiTao”(海淘) or “DaiGou”(代购), which means buying overseas product through overseas contacts, buying agencies, and individual sellers on the Internet, to purchase desired products at the best price.

Research firm Bain & Company reported that roughly 60% of Chinese consumers “have made at least some luxury purchases through parallel channels known as ‘DaiGou’ rather than from brands or department stores”. More importantly, 50% of Chinese consumers who have not shopped for overseas products via this channel suggested that they would try it in the future.

As early as 2005, groups of Chinese individual sellers started to make bulk purchases of goods such as luxury, cosmetics and baby formula overseas and then sold these products on Taobao or other shopping sites in China. This informal market is still thriving today.

Since 2010, dozens of professional B2C DaiGou shopping sites targeting luxury and designer brands have emerged, and many have even become household names in China such as Vipshop. JD, the country’s second-largest online shopping site, opened its couture-oriented 360Top site.

Haitaocheng.com, a Chinese website that compiles the best deals from overseas shopping sites, ranks them and offers cheaper door-to-door delivery services, adds about 300 new users every day and generated millions of yuan in monthly sales after only 6 months of its founding in 2012.

As agencies and companies are cropping up to help mainlanders to purchase overseas products at a lower price through internet, “HaiTao” and “DaiGou” are becoming increasingly popular options to shop for genuine, reasonably-priced overseas products.

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