June 24, 2014, 3:17 PM

The U.S. is the top market for Chinese companies selling on eBay

And more are planning to sell on eBay in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

Lead Photo

When a U.S. consumer buys on eBay these days, she’s not necessarily buying from a U.S. retailer or resident. Increasingly, sellers are based in other countries, and the Chinese merchants selling on eBay are particularly looking to expand their sales around the world, according to an eBay Inc. report on cross-border sales from China.

“Currently, cross-border business accounts for around 20% of total transactions on eBay, and that number will reach 30% or 40% in the future,” says eBay China chief strategy officer Hu Rongrong.

In dollar terms, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia represent the largest markets for Chinese sellers on eBay. But those sales are growing fastest in other countries, the eBay report says. Sales to Argentina from Chinese sellers on eBay grew 130% last year, while sales to Israel increased 78% and to Norway 69%.

The report covers sellers based in Greater China, which includes mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. EBay China interviewed 5,000 Chinese cross-border merchants selling on eBay sites and used eBay data to compile the research. EBay has localized e-commerce sites in 25 countries.

These Chinese sellers are expanding into new categories. While they still sell a lot of consumer electronics and fashion product, the fastest growth is in such categories as home and garden and auto parts, the report says. The top five categories in terms of sales for Chinese cross-border merchants on eBay are: electronics, fashion, home and garden, auto parts and collectibles.

In a sign of their growth, more than 80% merchants of the merchants surveyed say they plans to hire new employee in 2014. 49% of Chinese merchants on eBay plan to enter Australia in 2014, 43% the U.S. and 42% the U.K. In terms of emerging markets, 43% of Chinese merchants plan to begin selling on eBay in Russia this year and 33% in Brazil. 

Another prominent trend is more and more Chinese eBay merchants establishing their own warehouses overseas, the report says. This allows Chinese companies to deliver more quickly and to accept returns more easily, the report says.

Among the success stories is the growth of Chinese companies selling unlocked smartphones that give the buyer the option of choosing a wireless carrier. “Chinese smartphone brands such as ZTE, Huawei and Xiaomi are gaining awareness in several overseas markets,” Hu Rongrong says. “For example, Chinese unlocked smartphone products are popular in the U.K, since more than 50% of smartphones are non-contract in the U.K. Their sales are also growing in other countries, such as Russia and Brazil.”

The 10 top countries in terms of sales by Chinese merchants on eBay sites are:

  1. U.S.
  2. U.K.
  3. Australia
  4. Germany
  5. Canada
  6. Russia
  7. France
  8. Brazil
  9. Israel
  10. Spain  
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