Practicology is now Pattern

By Arthur Cheung | Country Manager - Greater China

We regularly meet international brands who want to sell on Tmall, and are surprised by the timelines of completing the process. Normally this is because they have not done the background preparations required to trade in the country at all.

The gross merchandise value of China's online retail market was 952.85 billion yuan totally (US$148.2 billion) in Q1 2018, up by 32.2% on the previous year. Tmall retains the largest market share – with 59.6% of China's retail ecommerce sales – and so it’s no surprise that Western brands often choose to sell on Tmall as their first foray into selling online in China.

Here we outline some of the hurdles and registration procedures that must be completed with care, before you begin your Tmall application.

Chinese Business Registration

Having a registered business entity determines whether your brand can sell on Tmall or Tmall Global. If you wish to gain business from the domestic market via Tmall, you will need to have the business registration, otherwise you can only consider Tmall Global and trade on the platform cross border.

Getting a business registration ready can take between six to nine months, including preparation time for all of the documents required.

Trademark for the brand

If you wish to sell your products online within China, either on the domestic Tmall platform or through your own Chinese website - you will need a Class 35 Trademark for your brand.

Applying a trademark can be tricky, we see retailers who apply for the wrong class of trademark - which does not allow them to do business online - while some brand names include terms that cannot be trademarked. We advise retailers to have a Chinese legal advisor to deal with trademark registration.

If you are selling through Tmall Global then you do not require a Chinese trademark, however you should still be able to show trademark ownership for the country of origin.

Merchandise Testing Label and Certificate

All products for sale online domestically in China require the product testing label and certificate to prove that certain items fulfil the PRC GB Standard of product safety / quality requirements. The lead time for getting the testing certificate varies depending on the product category.

Again, this is only necessary for brands who want to sell domestically online, and is another reason that Western brands often choose to trade cross-border via Tmall Global.

These are three of the most important steps a retailer may need to take care of before applying for a Tmall e-store.

If you would like help or support with your pre-application action plan or Tmall application itself please see our China Trade Partner page and don’t hesitate to get in touch at 


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