With an eye towards a potential overseas initial public offering, Chinese B2C e-commerce website 360buy.com has started the public beta testing of its English-language website, directly selling products to overseas buyers.
This marks the beginning of 360buy.com's overseas expansion as the competition in the Chinese e-commerce market is growing severe and crowded.
The new English website of 360buy.com will reportedly provide about 400,000 new products, including home appliances and milk powder. At the initial stage of the public beta testing, its service areas will cover nearly 40 countries and regions such as North America, South America, France, Germany, East Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Shi Tao, vice president of 360buy.com, said during a media interview that at the beginning stages, they hope to purchase Chinese-made products from domestic markets and deliver them to overseas customers.
The company also said it plans to establish the overseas business as an important sector of the company in the next two to three years and accumulate global awareness and users while improving profiting and supply chain management capacities.
Reports on foreign media revealed that 360buy.com will build overseas logistic centers to reduce the delivery periods.
But Chinese e-commerce websites face potential problems with customer service and authentication of products. On ChinaTechNews.com, overseas consumers frequently post stories of bad purchases or stolen money after using Chinese e-commerce rivals such as Alibaba or Dhgate. Even with overseas logistics centers, it is still unclear how 360Buy will handle overseas customer service, and it is unknown what legal rights overseas consumers will have with a company that claims to be Chinese but also has offshore entities to assist in its pre-IPO plans.
360Buy hired Kate Yingchun Kui as a vice president earlier this year in a move to potentially list overseas. Kui previously was a Chinese television anchor and also worked in public relations and investment banking.