TOKYO -- Chinese consumers who crave Japanese products will have more options for buying them online, as ANA Holdings and other businesses in Japan build up their China-bound e-commerce operations.
ANA will set up in March a Chinese-language online mall for about 300 Japanese companies to sell merchandise. Around 1,500 to 2,000 household items, cosmetics and other goods are expected to be offered. Plans call for a smartphone app to be released in June.
ANA will collaborate with group companies to handle everything from customs clearance to transportation. Tokyo-based ACD, an e-commerce system developer in which ANA has a 30%-plus stake, has devised a system compatible with the new Chinese taxation structure being readied for cross-border e-commerce. OCS, an international logistics unit, will handle merchandise collection and delivery. ANA's core unit, All Nippon Airways, will handle air transportation.
Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings will help promote sales via its chat app WeChat, and its WeChat Pay service will be a payment option. Tencent envisions developing products jointly with Japanese companies down the road.
Meanwhile, Amazon Japan will help sellers set up shop on a group website in the Chinese language. Sellers could do this on their own now, but they will eventually be able to receive support from the company, including referrals to a courier for local deliveries. The Japanese unit of Amazon.com held a seminar for Japanese companies this month, drawing more than 100 participants.
Even though the Chinese have cut back on shopping sprees while visiting Japan, distinctively Japanese products still draw strong interest from Chinese consumers.
China's e-commerce leader, Alibaba Group Holding, partnered in January with the Kyoto Prefecture government to offer local specialties from the old capital of Japan. No. 2 player JD.com is increasing sales of Japanese items as well.
The Japan-to-China e-commerce market is expected to reach 2.33 trillion yen ($20.6 billion) in 2019, up from 795.6 billion yen in 2015, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
In a market dominated by domestic e-commerce giants, it is unclear how popular Japanese-led websites will become. Whether they can offer high-quality services and other sought-after Japanese traits could hold a key to success.