Tmall Global and Other Marketplace Changes in 2Q 2019

by Ker Zheng

Tmall is loosening restrictions on its acceptance of new brands. We discuss this and other changes to keep you updated on China's leading cross-border e-commerce marketplaces: Tmall,, Kaola, and Xiaohongshu. 

Tmall Global


Tmall Global English Merchant Website. Source: Tmall Global Official Website

1. Tmall Upgrades Flagship Store Format (July 3)

The new format will emphasize likely purchases, recommendations of discount promotions, and tailored content to encourage more purchases. The changes will be made before Tmall's Singles Day holiday in November.

2. Tmall Global Rumored to be Relaxing Requirements for New Merchants (June 26)

It was rumored that Tmall would be eliminating the invitation-only requirement for merchants looking to get on Tmall Global. However, representatives have mentioned that it is not eliminating the requirement but rather making it easier for newer small brands to access its Tmall Overseas Fulfillment business. Also, the onboarding process will be much faster than in the past. 

3. Tmall Global Sets Up English Website to Attract International Merchants (June 26)

Its new English website lists the requirements and rules for international merchants looking to set up shop on Tmall Global. This is part of Tmall's concerted effort to attract more brands. You can access the website at 

4. Lipstick king Austin Li Sets Up Own Flagship Store on Tmall Global (June 19)

Lipstick KOL Austin Li became the first influencer to set up his own flagship store on Tmall Global. It will be interesting to see what kinds of products he sells and if he has the capability to launch a full-blown e-commerce operation

5. Other Changes (Source: CN Marketplace Insights WeChat Group)

Applicants in the beauty sector need to have at least 100 mentions on Xiaohongshu and accumulate 500,000 RMB in sales within the first two months of opening.  It is also rumored that Tmall Direct Import (direct purchase B2B2C) will not accept new brands at the moment. 

JD Worldwide


Farfetch Flagship Store on JD Worldwide. Source: JD Worldwide Official Website

1. JD Logistics Raises a $218 Investment Fund (June 24)

The fund will be used to invest in logistics-related startups and technology. 

2. to Offer Cross-Border Logistics Services for French Supermarket Chain Carrefour (June 20)

Carrefour will sell imported goods on's cross-border platform JD Worldwide. Carrefour already sells domestic products on and through's delivery service Dada-JD Daojia.

3. Reports $29.2 billion in Sales for 618 Festival (June 19)

Its sales were 26.6% up from that of last year's. Growth drivers included consumption in smaller cities

4. Farfetch Launches Flagship Store on (June 12)

Farfetch acquired's Toplife business earlier this year. The flagship store will offer over 3,000 brands. 

5. shuts Australian Office (May 9)

Previous plans to sell to the Australian market have been shelved, and may be halting its expansion to Europe as well. However, it will continue to recruit merchants from these countries to sell on its platform in China. 

Netease Kaola


Kaola's factory store in Hangzhou. Source: EC Foundation

1. Kaola Maintains Invitation-Only Brand Approval Process (June 27)

This comes after Tmall loosens its restrictions on accepting new brands.

2. Kaola Launches Short-Video Channel (June 4)

Customers will be able to access the channel by pulling down on the app's main screen. Each video will be limited to 30 seconds and give customers the opportunity to get a better sense of what products look and feel like in real life.

3. Netease Kaola Opens Factory Store in Hangzhou (April 27)

The 200sqm store will be in Hangzhou's Raffles City Mall and hold 1,500 SKUs for sale. Kaola plans to open 12 stores in total in Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Fuzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, and Chengdu.

4. Kaola Sets Up 500mn RMB Fund to Guarantee Product Quality (April 19)

This comes just a few months after a customer complaint about a fake Canada Goose jacket went viral on social media.


Xiaohongshu live-streaming

KOLs livestreaming on Xiaohongshu. Source: Jing Daily

1. Xiaohongshu is rumored to be raising another $500mn in funding (July 1)

However, the company has denied that it is raising another round of funding. 

2. Xiaohongshu releases updates for its KOLs and Brand Accounts (June 30) 

Users with over 5,000 followers and 10k monthly views can apply to be a certified KOL/influencer. Current certified KOLs that do not meet this threshold will be disqualified. Certified KOLs who sell products have to do so through the Xiaohongshu influencer platform and register. Lastly, Xiaohongshu is hiring a third-party company to review new brand account applications, and charging RMB 300 per application. 

3. Xiaohongshu Tests Livestreaming Function (June 17)

KOLs will be able to livestream themselves and potentially link the sessions to e-commerce products. This comes as Xiaohongshu attempts to further monetize its valuable user base. 

4. Louis Vuitton Launches Store on Xiaohongshu (May 8)

It is the first big luxury brand to have an official presence on the platform. Netease Kaola Tmall Global Little Red Book

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