China’s Top E-Commerce Sites Saw 600% Growth in Mobile Shopping Last Year; An average of 220,000 products were sold every hour through mobile devices in 2012 on Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao

China’s Top E-Commerce Sites Saw 600% Growth in Mobile Shopping Last Year

Mar 15, 2013 at 22:18 PM by Steven Millward, in BusinessE-commerceMobile

We know that China’s netizens love shopping online – and collectively spend about $40,000 per second on local e-commerce sites – but most of that has been happening on desktop computers and laptops. Finally that’s changing. China’s top online stores, Tmall andTaobao, have revealed that purchases made via mobile devices soared 600 percent last year on the two sites. Alibaba, the company that runs those two e-stores, says that the number of unique visitors to Taobao last year on its apps or on any mobile browser reached 300 million last year. The company’s blog says that, of those mobile visitors, 57 million (19 percent) made purchases on their phones. While that’s a sizable shift to m-commerce, mobile purchases still made up just 6.87 percent of all Taobao transactions in 2012. At least that’s way up from a mere 1.77 percent in 2011.

Indeed, as we noted previously in iResearch data for 2012 Q2, Taobao and Tmall lead the way in mobile commerce in China, punching above their general market share by accounting for 75.6 percent of mobile e-shopping buys. A few other sites also perform better than average, such as fashion e-tailers Vancl and MaiBaoBao. But quite a number of others are underrepresented on mobile, such as Amazon China. “The speed of mobile adoption has been much faster than we thought it would be,” says Alibaba’s general manager for the mobile business unit, Alex Qiu. With booming smartphone adoption in China – now accounting for 73 percent of all phones sold – there’s still a lot of market share to be won and lost in the transition to greater m-commerce.

The ‘Taobao 2012 Mobile Shopping Annual Report’ adds a few other fun factoids:

  • Women are the most active mobile shoppers spending an average of US$280 each last year on Taobao. Men spent $118 on average all year.
  • An average of 9.28 million mobile users searched for products each day on Taobao.
  • An average of 220,000 products were sold every hour through mobile devices in 2012 on Tmall and Taobao.
  • 3.55 million Taobao vendors sold products via mobile devices last year.
  • Mobile shopping is growing fastest away from major cities. Main cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou had 146 percent. In Changsha and Chongqing there was 167 percent growth. While in much smaller cities (so-called third- and fourth-tier cities) saw 180 percent and 230 percent growth respectively in mobile shopping.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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