A Brand’s Guide to Selling on JD Worldwide

Selling on JD.com worldwide
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    China is the king of global e-commerce. In 2019 alone, it achieved an astonishing $1.93 trillion in e-commerce sales — making it the largest online shopping market in the world. 

    And one of the key players in the e-commerce market in China is JD.com, the country’s second largest B2C online retailer and the closest rival to market leader, Tmall: 

    China Ecommerce Platforms Market Share - Statista
     Chinese B2C market share statistics provided by statista.com

    A big part of this growth is JD Worldwide, JD’s sister site that aims to connect Chinese consumers to overseas brands.  

    But what is this platform, exactly? 

    And how can international businesses gain access to this rare gateway into the Chinese e-commerce market?

    In this article, we’ll be breaking down everything non-Chinese brands need to know about selling on JD Worldwide, covering the set-up process, costs, requirements, and most importantly, how to achieve success on this international platform. 

    What is JD Worldwide? (And how is it different to JD.com?)

    Launched by JD.com in 2015, JD Worldwide is a cross-border e-commerce platform that allows Chinese consumers to buy goods from international, non-Chinese companies in a quick, secure, and convenient way. 

    The core difference between JD.com and JD Worldwide is that the latter allows companies that aren’t registered in China to sell to Chinese consumers, whilst the former is for national brands only. 

    But how does JD Worldwide work, exactly?

    Jingdong Worldwide (as it’s also known) operates in a very simple way:  

    1. Brands register to run a shop-front on the platform
    2. JD Worldwide connects your products to Chinese consumers
    3. Your product is then delivered to those consumers via JD distribution services

    Up next, we’ll be breaking down this process in more detail. But first, let’s learn a little more about the Chinese market, and why JD Worldwide may be your best pathway into it. 

    Why China (and JD Worldwide) is the place to be for international brands looking to expand

    First, we know China is the biggest e-commerce market in the world — and JD.com (and by extension, JD Worldwide) is at the very center of that. In fact, it is the country’s biggest e-commerce site in terms of annual revenue, bringing in around $83 billion dollars a year

    What’s more, JD.com has over 240 million registered users — 80% of whom are aged 18-45, and 65% have university degrees. Over 80% of all on-site transactions are also completed via mobile. 

    This makes the platform one of the most attractive e-commerce opportunities in the world, offering access to a young, educated, and digitally-savvy consumer base. But what kinds of brands can sell (and sell best) on JD Worldwide?

    Selling on JD Worldwide — Requirements, shop types, popular products, and success stories

    As a top-level overview, any international brand can sell on the platform, so long as it’s able to meet the following JD Worldwide requirements: 

    • Brands must be ‘internationally established’ and ‘famous’ brands are given priority.
    • They must be able to provide trademark registration documents, licensing agreements, and authorization to sell.
    • A USD bank account is required for payment. 
    • It’s preferred that brands have not yet launched in China. 
    • Business registration documents, shareholder/director details, and all business details must be provided. 
    • Chinese customer service must be available to customers. 
    • Product pages should be written in Mandarin. 
    • Products must be dispatched within 72 hours. 
    • Customers must be able to return their products to a Chinese address. 

    Want to start selling on Tmall Global or JD Worldwide?

    AdChina.io is one of the easiest ways to advertise and drive traffic in China. Work with us to start selling on JD Worldwide or Tmall Global, and use our self-service platform to run campaigns and drive sales. Create a free account or book a demo with our sales team to get started.

    And in terms of the different shop types on JD Worldwide, brands must be able to fit into one of four categories

    • Brand Flagship Store: Refers to a flagship store that’s directly operated by the brand owner. 
    • Outlet Flagship Store: Refers to the flagship store where authorization of the brand owner (trademark owner) has been granted. 
    • Franchise Store: Refers to stores that operate with permission as authorized brands.
    • Exclusive Store: Refers to a speciality store that operates one or more authorized brand products.

    Next, let’s take a closer look at what it takes to not just sell, but excel on JD Worldwide. 

    Popular product categories and brands on JD Worldwide 

    JD.com has revealed that the best selling categories on JD Worldwide are: 

    • Beauty products: such as foundation and lipstick.  
    • Infant and mom products: such as baby milk formula, and household products. 
    • Health supplements: such as protein powder.   

    The running theme between these categories is health, home, and hygiene. 

    Some examples of brands that have performed well on JD Worldwide include:

    • Johnson & Johnson: healthcare and hygiene products for women and children. 
    • Aptamill: a nutritional milk formula brand for babies. 
    • GNC Live Well: a health supplement brand.  
    • Shiseido: a beauty brand for women. 

    Another example of a popular brand that has grown its market by selling on JD Worldwide is Dyson, the British manufacturer of high-end vacuum cleaners and other electronics. Through its JD shop front and marketing campaign, the company was able to triple its customer acquisition in China and exceeded sales expectations by 22%. 

    But what about alternative pathways to selling in China? 

    And how does JD Worldwide compare to other top e-commerce platforms in China? 

    The alternatives to selling on JD Worldwide — Tmall Global vs JD Worldwide vs Taobao 

    The biggest, overall, e-commerce platform in China is Taobao.com (a predominantly C2C site), whilst JD Worldwide and Tmall Global are the top two, cross-market e-commerce sites for international brands. 

    Here’s a comparison of the three platforms, side-by-side: 

    JD Worldwide Tmall Global Taobao 
    Legal entity Outside ChinaOutside ChinaInside China
    Bank accountUSD bank accountHome country Chinese bank account
    Registration Registered in any countryRegistered in any countryRegistered in China
    Warehouse Outside China or partner warehouse in ChinaOutside China or partner warehouse in ChinaInside China
    UsersApprox. 335 million annual active usersApprox. 500 million monthly usersApprox. 666 million monthly users
    Costs*Deposit: $15,000
    Annual fee: $1,000
    Commission: 2-8% based on order value
    Deposit: $25,000 
    Annual fee: $5-10,000 depending on category
    Commission: 0.5-5% depending on category
    No fee
    Best forInternational brandsInternational brandsChinese individuals or local businesses
    USPCross border e-commerceCross border e-commerceChinese e-commerce

    *Costs are subject to change and are based on the latest information from the platforms at the time of publishing. 

    However, the key takeaway here is that Taobao.com, despite being the biggest and cheapest platform to sell on in China, is not viable for international brands, unless they already have a base in China. 

    This leaves JD Worldwide and Tmall Global as the best options for brands without a Chinese entity. 

    Both platforms have similar benefits, but JD Worldwide has some specific vantage points, such as: 

    • It’s considerably cheaper than Tmall Global, making it less risky.
    • Gives priority to brands in the health, home, and hygiene markets specifically to home appliances, mom and infant products, and nutritional/health supplements. 
    • Has an extensive delivery and fulfilment network. 
    • Offers flexible payment to customers, supporting WeChat Pay, JD Pay, and bank cards.
    • And, most importantly to international brands, selling on JD Worldwide is far more lenient and flexible than selling on Tmall Global. 

    If these are the benefits you’re looking for in a Chinese e-commerce partner, read on for a step-by-step guide on how to sell on JD Worldwide.  

    A step-by-step guide to selling on JD Worldwide

    Having established what JD Worldwide is, who it’s for, and how it compares to direct competitors, let’s focus on the specific steps you need to take to start selling on JD Worldwide. 

    1. Contact a JD Worldwide Business Development Manager

    The first step in setting up a seller account on JD Worldwide is contacting the Business Development Manager of your product category. To do this, you must email worldwide@jd.com, and express your interest in selling on the platform.

    In your email, you should indicate which product category you wish to sell in. The options are: 

    • Maternal & child 
    • Health 
    • Food 
    • Clothing
    • Handbags 
    • Cosmetics 

    2. Provide all relevant documentation 

    Once you’re in touch with a JD Worldwide BD Manager, you’ll be asked to send them all necessary documentation, such as:

    • Business details 
    • Contact details of shareholders/directors 
    • Shop type (brand flagship, outlet flagship, exclusive or franchise) 
    • Trademark registrations 
    • Licensing agreements 
    • Letters of authorization 
    • Bank details 

    And if you need more info: here’s a complete breakdown of JD Worldwide requirements

    3. Complete the approval process

    After you’ve sent the necessary documentation, you’ll be emailed a link to register your application. Click it, and follow the instructions very closely. 

    Then, JD Worldwide will process your application, review your documentation, and proceed to approve your account, reject it, or ask for further information. 

    You’ll receive an email when you’re finally approved, which should be within 2-4 weeks of submitting your application. 

    4. Pay the necessary fees

    Once you’re approved, you’ll be asked to pay the security deposit of $15,000 (which is refundable), and the annual service fee of $1,000. 

    After payment is received, your shop status will be immediately changed to ‘open’ and you can begin selling. 

    5. Set up your JD Worldwide store (and begin shipping to customers) 

    Before selling, however, you’ll need to set-up your store. This will include: 

    • Uploading inventory  
    • Adding images 
    • Creating product descriptions (written in Mandarin) 
    • Building your profile 
    • Implementing SEO 
    • And other administrative tasks that JD Worldwide will guide your team through. 

    Want to start selling on Tmall Global or JD Worldwide?

    AdChina.io is one of the easiest ways to advertise and drive traffic in China. Work with us to start selling on JD Worldwide or Tmall Global, and use our self-service platform to run campaigns and drive sales. Create a free account or book a demo with our sales team to get started.

    That’s it! Time for the fun part, you can start selling and shipping your products. 

    JD Worldwide will handle your distribution through its global shipping and warehousing solutions. It has partnerships with DHL, Australia Post, YAMATO, and its own delivery network, enabling it to deliver your products directly to Chinese consumers with ease. 

    JD Worldwide has warehouses in: Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Osaka, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Incheon, Melbourne, London, and Jakarta. 

    High-volume products are stored in these bonded warehouses, allowing for immediate delivery. Returns will also be handled in these warehouses. 

    6. Advertise your JD Worldwide store 

    To drive traffic to your JD Worldwide store, it’s essential to build an advertising strategy that targets relevant customers. 

    On JD Worldwide, shops can run banner adverts directly on the platform. These can be specifically targeted to consumers interested in your product category, as indicated by the customer trends and data JD Worldwide is able to retain. 

    In fact, Outside of JD, international brands should also advertise their stores on other popular platforms in China, such as:

    Each of these platforms offer banner advertising and ‘native’ advertising (integrated within news feeds) that’ll reach a predominantly young and consumer-driven market. 

    For a complete breakdown of these apps and others, along with an overview of the involved costs, check out our article on digital advertising in China

    Wrapping up: Growing your revenue in China with JD.com

    Despite China offering some of the best e-commerce opportunities in the world, these opportunities can be very difficult to navigate and optimize. Particularly for international brands operating outside of the country. 

    There are difficult regulations to overcome, a fragmented internet to work within, and costs that can be too high to risk. 

    That’s why, here at AdChina.io, we’re committed to helping brands overcome the obstacles and unlock success in the world’s most important market… without all the risks. 

    Book your free demo, today, to find out how we can help.

    Want to start selling on Tmall Global or JD Worldwide?

    AdChina.io is one of the easiest ways to advertise and drive traffic in China. Work with us to start selling on JD Worldwide or Tmall Global, and use our self-service platform to run campaigns and drive sales. Create a free account or book a demo with our sales team to get started.
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