Amazon Prime has long been a staple of consumers' shopping lives, but now, Chinese consumers will enjoy the benefits of free shipping.
According to a report, starting Friday (Oct. 28), Chinese Prime customers are now able to enjoy free shipping on orders for products overseas with a minimum purchase of $29.50. Goods that are sold in China will be shipped for free for Chinese Prime customers.
The report noted that Chinese customers won’t get one- or two-day shipping with their Prime membership like people in the U.S. do. Deliveries in China have an average time of five to nine days, and orders of more than $295 may take longer. Chinese Prime customers pay $57 for their membership, which is lower than the $99 in the U.S.
The move on the part of Amazon comes at a time when the company is trying to take on Alibaba’s dominance in China. Earlier this summer, it tried to do that by quietly launching a Chinese language version of its Japanese site and offering reduced shipping rates to mainland China. Alibaba may be the king of the category when it comes to Chinese eCommerce, but Amazon is betting that it can cash in on the 2.34 trillion yen ($22.5 billion) Chinese consumers are projected to spend on Japanese eCommerce products in 2019, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
“The opportunity is huge,” said Jasper Cheung, president of Amazon Japan. “We have already increased the selection that we can export by the millions over the last several weeks.” Amazon is not alone in noticing that “huge” opportunity. Hometown hero Rakuten already offers a Chinese language portal, as well as one in English. Amazon Japan’s shopping portal offers listings in simplified Chines, and trades on the promise of authentic brands and quality.