In the past year or so, we have seen a tremendous push of Chinese e-commerce services for Chinese products everywhere in the West. Wish, the Californian application that is very popular among young people, has been among the top 3 most downloaded apps in France for months.

An offer of products at microscopic prices, suggested according to the user’s history and delivered within three weeks. Aliexpress is also gaining strength. The wholesale-priced BtoC marketplace launched by Alibaba has seen its French traffic increase from 1.4 million visitors in spring 2015 to 3 million one year later.

In fact, it already figures among the three largest e-stores in Spain, Russia and Brazil. And then there’s the Chinese retailer LightInTheBox, listed on the NYSE, which distributes products directly from the factory to every country in the world. Suffice to say that Chinese sellers have no end of market opportunities in the West.

And now a new heavyweight is lending them a hand: Amazon has welcomed them with open arms to its American and European marketplaces. To push them upwards through its listings in spite of the low number of customer reviews, it takes charge of their stocks within its Fulfillment by Amazon service, after importing them from China thanks to its new licence as a maritime shipping operator.

In France, Cdiscount also counts more and more Chinese vendors and the fashion marketplaces are also entering the game. So, expect to see a tidal wave of Chinese products… accompanied by embarrassing issues of counterfeiting, quality and unpaid VAT.

Flore Fauconnier is a journalist. She covers e-commerce, retail and travel for Journal du Net (groupe Le Figaro), the first economics news site in France with 3.5 million unique visitors per month. She previously covered economics and politics for L'Express, Le Figaro Entreprises, France Soir and British publication The Heren Report. She started her career as an account manager in consultancy Wavestone (then Solucom). She holds an MSc in Engineering from Telecom Bretagne and a specialised master's degree in Media from ESCP-EAP.

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