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Understanding the State of China’s E-Commerce Industry

According to expert predictions, China’s retail and e-commerce sales will experience strong growth throughout 2023. By year’s end, China’s e-commerce retail sales will total approximately $3.33 trillion.

While these figures ensure that China will remain the global leader in retail e-commerce sales, the nation is still rebounding from pandemic-related disruptions.

Prior to the global pandemic, China’s retail e-commerce sector was growing at a historic rate. It continued to grow in 2022 but looked slightly sluggish compared to pre-pandemic performance. However, the overall outlook is positive, as the sector continues to trend in the right direction.

As the world leader in retail e-commerce, China represents a treasure trove of opportunities for affiliate and partnership marketing.

Live streaming and social commerce in particular are thriving, but there are many other routes to customers, which means each marketer should build their partnering strategy based on the product category or service they operate within.

Whether you’re already operating within the Chinese e-commerce marketplace or want to expand into it, the insights below will help you build a winning partnership marketing strategy to help your business flourish.


Why Target the Asia-Pacific (APAC) Region?

The US has fully embraced the affiliate marketing model with great success. Europe followed suit and now has a thriving affiliate marketing ecosystem of its own.

On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has been a bit slower to adopt the affiliate marketing model — this holds true for retailers, other business entities, and consumers. However, the market is simply too large to overlook, as it’s home to over half of the world’s internet users.

The good news is that while the APAC region has been somewhat resistant to affiliate marketing, the sentiment has changed greatly since the pandemic. Between lockdowns, a transition to remote work, and various other factors, e-commerce has become increasingly common across the Asia-Pacific region.

Complicating matters, however, is the fact that there are over 48 countries within the APAC region, with a total of 21 different languages used across this enormous region. This makes crafting impactful messaging particularly challenging.


Navigating the Nuances of Affiliate Marketing in China

With the largest e-commerce retail market and the most sizable population in the world, China is the affiliate marketing gem of the APAC region. By establishing a strong presence in China, marketers can connect with a massive pool of prospective customers, achieve steady growth, and bolster revenue.

By focusing on China, specifically major metropolitan areas like Beijing and Hong Kong, brands can overcome many of the challenges associated with APAC affiliate marketing.

Hong Kong already has robust infrastructure in place and has long been a hub of affiliate marketing for the region. English is widely spoken there, and the area is filled with opportunistic and enthusiastic partners that can be the perfect addition to a well-designed affiliate strategy.


Local and Global Sub-Networks: The Key to APAC Affiliate Success

While China and its biggest cities are certainly APAC affiliate marketing hot spots, gaining stable footing in these markets still requires a strategic approach. To this end, consider using global and local sub-networks to connect with prospective partners and build out your strategy.

Two of the leading global sub-networks include Brandreward and Skimlinks. In terms of local sub-networks, iChannels and ChineseAN are two of the most well-established players. These entities have helped shape the industry in Hong Kong by providing Chinese language support and educating affiliates.

When establishing connections with these sub-networks and downstream affiliates, be careful to adhere to culturally appropriate business etiquette. Additionally, consider connecting with a domestic partner that can assist with introductions and set the stage for your entry into the Chinese market.


Ready to Expand Your Reach to the APAC Region?

Breaking into the APAC region, and China more specifically, is a monumental task. But establishing a winning partnership marketing strategy in China becomes significantly easier when you partner with an agency that has a proven track record of success in the APAC region. Acceleration Partners is just such an agency.

As the global leader in affiliate, influencer, and partnership marketing, AP has helped to write the book on APAC affiliate marketing. If you’d like to access this free resource and learn more about how we can support your Asia-Pacific marketing campaign, download The APAC Affiliate Marketing Handbook today.


Are you prepared to harness the immense potential of China’s thriving e-commerce sector?
Connect with our team of global affiliate marketing experts!