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Chinese e-commerce platforms catching up with Korean rivals

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : April 10, 2024 - 15:29

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(Herald DB) (Herald DB)

Chinese e-commerce platforms, including the big three AliExpress, Temu and Shein, saw their Korean sales more than double over the past six months, while their Korean rivals suffered lukewarm sales performance during the same period, according to payment transaction data released Wednesday.

According to an analysis report by BC Card, the nation’s largest payment processing company, payments made on Chinese e-commerce platforms soared more than 130 percent from October last year to March this year both in terms of sales and the number of purchases.

During the same period, Korean e-commerce platforms suffered a 2.5 percent decrease in sales and a 1.1 percent decrease in the purchase number.

The exact amounts of these figures were not disclosed immediately.

In the meantime, Korean consumers still seem to have a higher level of trust in domestic e-commerce platforms compared to Chinese ones, particularly when it comes to high-value items.

In the report, Chinese platforms saw almost 70 percent of purchases come from items priced below 50,000 won ($37), which compared to Korean platforms where nearly 60 percent of purchases were for items priced at 50,000 won or more.

“For relatively cheaper products, there is a tendency to use Chinese e-commerce platforms. However, when it comes to purchasing high-priced items, consumers tend to opt for domestic platforms, (and this is) primarily attributed to their convenience of refund or exchange,” an official from BC Card said.

When it comes to the gender ratio among users of Chinese platforms, males made up almost 65 percent of the users. But the gender difference seems to be narrowing, with more female users joining China-based platforms.

By age, both Chinese and Korean e-commerce platforms saw the majority of their consumers based in their 30s and 40s, followed by those in their 10s and 20s.