Business / Industries

Tianjin e-hub planned for imported goods

By Yang Ziman (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-01 08:25

Tianjin e-hub planned for imported goods

A customer buys imported goods at the Tmall cross-border O2O experience center at the China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone. The center, covering 600 square meters, offers thousands of imported commodities.[Photo/Xinhua]

A government-backed e-commerce association is planning to build a wholesale center for imported goods in Tianjin with potential collaboration from a subsidiary of media conglomerate Wire and Plastic Products Plc of London, according to an official with the group.

The China Cross-Border E-Commerce Import Alliance has signed a strategic agreement with the government of Jinghai district in Tianjin, where the wholesale center is located, to turn the district into a cross-border e-commerce hub, Huang Tingfa, president of the alliance, told China Daily.

The association is also in talks with Salmon China Ltd, a commerce and digital subsidiary company of WPP Plc that provides consultancy and technological support for e-commerce businesses, on potential collaboration.

Founded in 2015, the alliance aims to help international brands tap into the e-commerce business market in China. Its members are enterprises based in China, Europe, North America, Australia and Southeast Asia.

Huang said that the center, if successful, will be the largest in China for imported consumer goods. The total investment is estimated at 5 billion yuan ($772 million).

"Large numbers of products from all over the world will gather in the logistics park in Tianjin, where they enjoy preferential tax policies in the free trade zone. They will then be distributed to the rest of China. Such a business model is going to resolve the last-mile challenge for imported goods, making it faster, safer, more accurate and flexible," said Huang.

According to the China E-commerce Research Center, a Shenzhen-based research institute, cross-border e-commerce trading was worth 2 trillion yuan in the first half of 2015, up 42.8 percent from the same period of the previous year. Imports accounted for 15.2 percent of the total volume.

The Tianjin hub will include a 360,000-square-meter logistics park for storage and exhibition. Foreign exporters or their Chinese representatives will be able to supply their goods directly to the hub's sales platform, which checks quality of the products.

"The authenticity and quality of the imported goods at the moment are quite fragmented. With one center to manage all the goods, the quality can therefore be guaranteed," said Huang.

Tianjin port is the fourth-largest port in the world and the only free trade zone in North China. The logistics park, located in southwestern Tianjin, is 35 kilometers from the Tianjin international airport and 120 km from Beijing.

Salmon Ltd, the London-based parent company of Salmon China, has been offering e-commerce solutions for the world's leading brands for 26 years.

"The sentiment among our customers across the globe is not whether they should come to China, but how," said CEO Neil Stewart, who was on a tour of the logistics park.

"Any kind of solution that makes market access easier will enable us to better help our customers tap into the Chinese market."

Salmon's role in the emerging partnership will be offering consultancy, introducing customer network and building big-data base for the wholesale center, Stewart said.

"We have a lot of big-brand customers in Europe and the United States who are all considering the best way to enter the Chinese market. We have been looking for wholesale facilities that are collective and easy to use. I believe our customers would be very interested in package facility that encompasses logistics and favorable tax policies for e-commerce," said Stewart.

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