EBay is stepping back into business in China with an arrangement with the port city of Ningbo, according to Internet Retailer. The company recently announced a partnership with the major port and manufacturing hub.
Ningbo’s eCommerce pilot zone is one of more than a dozen established by the Chinese government. Companies operating in these areas get various benefits, including expedited imports, tax breaks and, more importantly, the chance to set up bonded warehouses to store imported goods — reducing shipping times by as much as 80 percent.
This is eBay’s first major move in the country since its disastrous run from the Chinese auction business a decade ago in the face of growing local competition. The experience was such a cautionary tale that it even became a business school case study.
This time around, however, eBay seems to be in the forefront of this important trend in online trade. In 2016, Chinese shoppers made $86 billion in online purchases from vendors in other countries, mainly because they are looking for safer alternatives overseas to the products offered at home. In addition, many Chinese shoppers are now seeking “the best and most expensive product” when they shop. Last year, those shoppers purchased $5 billion worth of goods, such as cosmetics and clothing online from South Korea alone.
Of course, there are also shoppers outside of China who are looking for a bargain deal, and eBay has built its business on consumers looking for products at the best price. With the Ningbo partnership, eBay is hoping to improve this process by training local workers to help manufacturers meet the demands of overseas customers, giving the chance for global consumers to purchase Chinese goods at a discount with ease.