According to Forrester Research, China’s total web sales are expected to hit a peak of $160 billion in 2015, a promising prospect for U.S. exporters. Currently, Alibaba’s Taobao.com and B2C platform TMall.com are the biggest players in Chinese e-commerce. As a response to pressure from TMall.com, many Chinese e-commerce companies are planning to garner large US IPOs to help them compete in the market.
360buy.com, with its B2C platform Jingdong Mall, is trying to raise $4-5 billion with its IPO to U.S. investors. This ambitious goal would set a new standard for IPOs by Chinese e-commerce businesses. 360buy.com is not the only company hoping for a large IPO. Vancl.com, China’s largest online clothes retailer, is rumored to have an IPO of $1 billion to be backed by investors including IDG Capital Partners, SAIF Partners and Qiming Venture Partners. Xiu.com, the e-commerce luxury goods B2C platform, also plans to list a 2012 U.S. IPO and already raised $100 million from Warburg Pincus and venture capital firm KPCB China just last August.
IPOs are essential to these companies because of the competition they face. The Chinese e-commerce market has exploded in recent years, facilitating growth and entrepreneurial diversity. But the unquestionable top dog in the Chinese e-commerce world is Taobao, which has dominated Chinese e-commerce with its incredibly successful B2C platform TMall.com. Taobao is expecting to handle over $150 billion in online transactions in 2012 and has a 31% hold on the B2C market. After incorporating the new Alipay system, weaning itself off of Ebay’s Paypal, TMall seems set to continue its reign as the most successful e-commerce B2C platform in China. Regardless of ambitious IPOs and even more ambitious companies, such as 360buy.com, the simple truth remains that Taobao is the most effective way for a US exporter to reach the massive e-commerce consumer base in China.