New York Stock Exchange listed Vipshop Holdings, a leading Chinese online discount retailer, signed on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding with Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) for the latter's 3.5 million members to sell their products on Vipshop.
The first batch of South Korean goods, together with newly selected products from Europe and the United States, will be launched on Vipshop's website in April, said Feng Jialu, vice-president of the company.
The move marks new efforts to satisfy the appetite of Chinese consumers for overseas products.
Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said earlier this month more than 100 million Chinese travelled abroad last year, spending over 1 trillion yuan ($161 billion) overseas. Online purchases of overseas goods by Chinese consumers have also been on the rise.
Chinese travelers are expected to contribute 30 trillion won ($27.25 billion), or 8 percent of South Korea's retail revenue, in 2020, which indicates huge room for online purchase of products from the country, said Luo Shuang, director for global sale of Vipshop.
Chinese consumers favor items such as fashion, cosmetics, home appliances, and baby and maternity products from South Korea, she said. About 80 percent of the company's 100 million members are female.
Vipshop has built business connections with South Korean companies such as department store company Shinsegae Corp, baby and maternity brand Boryung Medience Co, Korea Ginseng Corp and food company Daesang Corp.
Kim Seongsoo, vice-president of KOTRA, said his organization will work to encourage and support Korean brands to cooperate with Vipshop.
Negotiations on the China-South Korea free trade agreement have been concluded and this would definitely facilitate mutual growths in many areas between the countries, Kim said, adding an explosive growth is expected in cross-border e-commerce this year.
The cooperation with Vipshop will enable Korean products to arrive in China in a faster way to satisfy the needs of Chinese consumers and assist South Korean companies to leverage more opportunities in the Chinese market, he said.
With the MOU with KOTRA, Vipshop has completed its Sino-South Korean cross-border e-commerce network.
In February, it signed an MOU with South Korean online platform CAF? 24, enabling the 750,000 online retailers of CAF? 24 to enter Vipshop.
In March, Vipshop launched a warehouse for cross-border business in Zhengzhou, Henan province, and initiated its program for Sino-South Korean cross-border e-commerce direct import by sea in Qingdao, Shandong province.