For love - and luxury

By Dong Fangyu and Yang Feiyue in Beijing ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-12-20 08:10:19

However, major high-end retailers including Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale's in the United States have teamed up with China's largest online payment solution provider - Alipay, the e-payment arm of the Alibaba Group, and Chinese shoppers can now buy goods directly in yuan through the Alipay payment platform and take advantage of its direct shipment service.

Wang Xiaoying, 29, another haitao shopper from Beijing, has just purchased a Michael Kors overcoat from Macy's online store.

"My coat arrived in about 10 days. The international shipment was only 33 yuan through the Alipay platform," she says.

"As I proceeded to the checkout on Macy's online store, the webpage automatically linked me to Alipay. Then I logged onto my Alipay account, filled in my Chinese address, and confirmed the payment. The payment automatically added the shipping cost and the estimated tariff. It's that easy."

Lin Wenbin, an e-commerce analyst with Analysys International, says the main problem now is the language barrier.

"Comparing product descriptions, filling in credit cards information in a foreign language still put off many consumers," says Lin.

Retailers keen to attract Chinese shoppers are looking at ways to overcome this barrier. Since Black Friday, the traditional sales day after Thanksgiving in the United States, for instance, Amazon China unveiled "overseas sales" on, where Chinese shoppers can grab deals through a Chinese-language interface, but their orders are procured directly from Amazon US suppliers without any middlemen.

Lin said that major Western shopping sprees such as Black Friday and the Christmas sales have just started gaining the attention of Chinese mass online shoppers.

"There is great potential for these Western sales with Chinese online shoppers," Lin says.

"My motive for shopping from overseas websites at the very beginning was because of safety concerns. I don't trust domestic brands of milk powder and everything related to baby products," said the 32-year-old mother Liu Xin.

Domestic producers of infant formula are still seeking to restore consumer confidence following the 2008 melamine scandal.

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