TOKYO -- Chinese tech umbrella Founder Group will support Japanese small and midsize businesses looking to jump into the Asian nation's booming e-commerce market, helping with everything from website design to product shipping.
The new service, which starts this month, will let clients choose from several basic website designs and easily customize elements such as background and the placement of a search bar, all through an interface accessible even to sole proprietors with little technical expertise.
Founder will also help promote these businesses to Chinese consumers -- for example, by offering discounts to shoppers who share product information with their friends via WeChat, the Tencent Holdings messaging app that boasts 900 million users in China.
All this costs users 15,000 yen ($130) a month. The service will include a free trial period, according to Founder. By contrast, opening a shop in one of China's leading online marketplaces can cost millions of yen in addition to regular fees, putting that option out of reach for many small and midsize businesses. Founder aims to sign up 20,000 companies in the first year.
Buying overseas goods online is an increasingly popular option for Chinese shoppers, in part because going to the source helps avoid counterfeits. According to Japan's trade ministry, cross-border e-commerce from Japan to China was worth more than 1 trillion yen in 2016 and is projected to reach 1.9 trillion yen by 2020.