The Ultimate Glossary Terms for China E-commerce

A - Z Frequently used terms for Chinese e-commerce and social media you should know to for higher collaboration efficiency with your partners.

China e-commerce is tough - we get it. There are various terms created only for China, and many of our clients get frustrated too when they are reading their agencies' emails. Here's a terms book that we use to communicate and streamline our communication workflow. Try to look up terms here. We try to keep this as simple as possible so that we can fit in as many as we can. Please do let us know what terms you want to explain by contacting us via email (,


AdBrain: AdBrain, in Chinese as "万象台", or Wanxiangtai referred to by many TP/Agencies, is a marketing tool offered by Alibaba to Tmall & Taobao merchants to develop targeted advertisements for customer acquisition. AdBrain was formerly part of "AI智投", a popular tool used by merchants to automatically reach out to target audiences. AdBrain ads are typically presented as banner exposure or as product exposure in the product feeds.


Brand Zone: Brand Zone in a broader sense refers to the branded ads presented to the audience who were searching for the branded terms. Brand Zone ads are typically used to promote a trade-mark-protected brand, and merchants can benefit from much lower cost per click/exposure. Brand Zone in Tmall/Taobao refers to Pinxiaobao ("品销宝"). In WeChat, it refers to the branded ads in search results. In Baidu, it refers to the ads presented on the first screen of branded terms search results.


Cainiao: Cainiao, or in Chinese (菜鸟) is the logistics arm of Alibaba that provides various logistics solutions to facilitate transactions. Cainiao has both cross-border and domestic capacity, and they are not only servicing Tmall but can also support merchants' private.CN website/Mini-program stores.

Cross-border: Cross-border refer to selling directly as an overseas entity to Chinese consumers without registering either the products for China or developing a China entity to collect the payment. Cross-border e-commerce can be enabled via working with leading Chinese marketplaces such as Tmall and JD, or setting up a China shipping solution with China payment on your global website. Cross-border e-commerce is preferred by many merchants in their first years of launch in China because of the ease of set-up and the simplicity of managing taxes & compliances. Find more information here: Cross-border E-commerce FAQ

CPS: CPS typically refer to Cost Per Sale - or what others are referring to as affiliate partnership. 

CPC: CPC refer to the marketing billing model, cost per click. It is also referred to as PPC (Pay Per Click).


Douyin: Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok.


ECPM: eCPM in Chinese digital space is typically referred to as Expected Cost Per Mille. It's a metric used to evaluate the potential cost of an advertisement campaign that is billed in CPM. Some platforms used eCPM to refer to Earning CPM, or Effective CPM.



GPM: GPM typically refer to GMV per mile or Gross-sales per mile. This term is used by Douyin to evaluate the monetizing efficiency of a livestream campaign. GPM is calculated by total revenue / total livestream unique visitors. 



ICP: ICP is short for Internet Content Provider, which typically refers to an ICP license or ICP registration/filing. ICP registration is a compliance process for merchants who are building online websites or digital products for China. Depending on the nature of the business, one must obtain an ICP filing (for a transactional website) or ICP registration (for a transactional platform). Various online ad platforms in China can only provide ad services to web businesses only with ICP filing/registration.


JIT: JIT refers to as the Just-in-time inventory management model, is used by JD, Tmall, and various leading Chinese online platform's direct sale operations, in order to lower the risk of overstocking. When an order is created, merchant need to fulfill the order to the platform-designated warehouses for consolidation and repackaging. For the JIT partnership, merchants need to integrate API and feed real-time inventory to the marketplaces. JITs are sometime used by some professionals as drop-ship, but it's not entirely accurate. The difference between dropship and JIT is that dropship may require supplier to ship to end consumers, while JIT will only need to ship to a designated warehouse.

JingZhunTong: JingZhunTong, or JZT in short, or "京准通" in Chinese, is JD's proprietary marketing tools collection. JZT offers various tools including Search Engine Marketing (Jing Dong Kuai Che "京东快车"), Display Ads (Jing Dong Zhan Wei "京东展位), Feed Ads (购物触点, sometimes referred to as Shop Recommend), JD Zhitou (external ads on Douyin and Kuaishou, etc), JingSuTui (JST, or "京速推" in Chinese, AI-powered recommendation ads) , etc. 


Kuaishou: Kuaishou, in Chinese as "快手", is a popular short video platform featured with down-to-earth content style and high penetration in lower-tier cities. Kuaishou also offers e-commerce platform services to merchants.


Little Red Book: in Chinese as "小红书", or LRB in short, is a popular social media UGC platform in China with monthly active users over 300 million (2022.12), where consumers can find interesting content and product recommendations. The platform has a high penetration in tier 1 cities and middle-class high-income consumers in China, with over 80% of users being female users. The search engine of LRB is a highly valuable marketing space for merchants, as 60% of daily active LRB users will search in the platform, contributing to 300 million search queries on a daily basis.




Ocean Engine: Ocean Engine, in Chinese as "巨量引擎" typically refers to ByteDance's marketing platform where brands can build marketing campaigns across Douyin, Xigua, Toutiao or various popular apps developed by ByteDance. 

OCPM: oCPM is a term typically used to describe a CPM marketing platform that can be optimized for certain targets, such as buy, click, add-to-card, browsing behavior, etc. OCPM in China is used by WeChat's Moment Ads, JD's Jingzhuntong, and increasingly Ocean Engine.




ROI: Return on investment, or ROAS (return on ads spend). This term is often used as a KPI to measure the efficiency of marketing activities in China. ROI can be measured by evaluating the trackable revenue / actual marketing spend. ROI is a measurement that could fluctuate between 0~1 or 1~infinite. Different marketing strategies would have different ROI benchmarks.


ShangZhi: ShangZhi, or "商智" in Chinese, is JD's proprietary Business Intelligence platform (JD BI) open to merchants operating in Shangzhi provides real-time sales, product performance, traffic analysis, conversion analysis, industrial performance, competitive information, service level, etc. 

ShengYiCanMou (SYCM)Shengyicanmou, or in Chinese (生意参谋), or SYCM in short, is the BI system of Tmall and Taobao. Merchant will be able to access the full operational data and competitive information about their Taobao/Tmall store from SYCM. This BI system is only in Chinese and we recommend merchants to log in & view data via translation tools, or let the TP/Agencies provide data reports originating from this platform. The basic subscription of SYCM is ¥9980 per year and with an advanced subscription, merchants can have more competitive data and access to more categorical data. SYCMs sometimes are referred to by some Agencies as Biz Advisors. 

Shufang: Shufang, or in Chinese (数坊), or JD4A is the data analytics tool offered by JD to brand merchants. Brands will be able to access comprehensive data about their brand performance in JD as a whole instead of merchant data. This helps the brand to gain knowledge and build specific marketing campaigns to grow in the platform. Shufang is a powerful tool for brand - similar to the Brand Databank offered by Alibaba. However, this is not a tool facing multi-brand merchants.

SPU: SPU typically refer to the Standard Product Unit, which is a consolidated product including sub-SKUs. SPU is often used by fashion operations to refer to specific styles.


Taobaoke: Taobaoke, or Taobao Affiliate, or "淘宝客", is an affiliate program of Tmall/Taobao. The billing model is Cost-per-sale (CPS) and is widely used by merchants to promote sales. Taobao Affiliate can be used to partner with influencers, private social communities, ads platforms, and KOC to enable a Cost-per-sale collaboration. It can also be used to track sales from a specific campaign external to Taobao/Tmall.

Ten Billion Subsidy: The Ten Billion Subsidy typically refers to the subsidy programs launched by Chinese e-commerce platforms to subsidy merchants with the lowest price in the market, and compete with customer traffic and conversion. Also in Chinese known as "百亿补贴" (bai yi bu tie). Ten Billion Subsidy does not mean giving 10 billion subsidies to one merchant - but offering further discounts to merchants with costs born by the platforms. Typically the platform operation managers will evaluate the ROI of such subsidy and typical KPIs range from 10~20.

TKOF: TKOF, or known as TOF, refers to Tmall & Kaola Overseas Fulfillment. This is a JIT business model of Tmall Direct Sale where global merchants offer a supply price to Tmall and Tmall then resells to the customers at a higher price. TKOF has the advantage that it does not charge a fixed service fee - however brand needs to be popular to move well through this channel. 

TA: TA is short for Target Audience. This is a term typically used by a marketing agency when describing the market segment of a brand/product/campaign.


Unidesk: Unidesk is a global marketing tool developed by Alimama (Alibaba's marketing BU) featured with PPC outbound marketing campaign on Chinese social media platforms. Unidesk tool leverages Alibaba's big data and connection with leading social media platforms in China to create brand awareness & convert to Tmall/Taobao store visitors with fully trackable behavior backlinks.  



Wanxiangtai: Wanxiangtai, or "万象台", typically referred to as AdBrain, is a marketing tool offered by Alibaba to Tmall & Taobao merchants to develop targeted advertisements for customer acquisition. Wanxiangtai was formerly part of Super Recommendation, a popular tool used by merchants to automatically reach out to the target audience. Wanxiangtai ads are typically presented as banner exposure or in the product feeds.

WeCom: WeCom (in Chinese as "企业微信") typically refer to WeChat Work. It is a collaboration platform built for business operations and was deeply integrated in the WeChat ecosystem. WeCom/WeChat Work is used by many merchants in China for the purposes of SCRM (Social CRM), client management, social communities, and private domain operation because it connects businesses (WeChat Work based) and customers (WeChat based). WeCom has a powerful toolset to increase operational efficiency and it's a chat-based marketing tool. Different to WeChat, when an employee leaves the organization, his/her network in WeCom can be inherited by other organization members.




Zhitongche: Zhitongche (in Chinese as "直通车") stands for the search engine marketing tools of Taobao/Tmall. It is sometimes referred to as Taobao/Tmall SEM by many agencies. Zhitongche adopts a Cost-per-click billing method and is often used to promote a single item.