Chinese shoppers surf online into Black Friday madness

Globalization is unstoppable. Chinese buyers are joining the Black Friday shopping frenzy as well, right in front of their screens and via cross-border e-commerce websites.

Wealthy and middle-class Chinese are keen to purchase international brand handbags and cosmetics on cross-border websites where the price is much lower than brick-and-mortar stores in the country.

Leading e-commerce platforms pushed that trend even further during Black Friday.

Amazon China

Amazon in October launched its Prime service in China, where the Prime perks include free shipping for any cross-border order worth more than RMB 200 (USD 29). Amazon set the price of Prime in the country at RMB 188 for the first year and RMB 388 afterwards.

Then last Friday, Amazon China opened a pop-up shop in Beijing’s most glitzy shopping area, Sanlitun, in an effort to seize Chinese shoppers’ attention.

Black Friday has been a highlight for Amazon China, which is largely overshadowed in the nation by Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall. Last year, Amazon China’s volume of cross-border transactions on Black Friday reached nine times its transaction volume on Singles’ Day.

Tmall and other cross-border platforms, its online store in Hong Kong, hopes to cater to its more wealthy users across the country via the international stores on its platform.

Target and Macy’s stores on offer sales and discounts. Isetan Mitsukoshi, Japan’s largest department store group, also opened its online store on on this year’s Black Friday.

Screenshot of
Screenshot of

Other Chinese e-commerce apps focusing on cross-border purchasing also launched bold sales activities to boost sales volume.

How to get the best deals

Sometimes, direct purchasing from overseas websites costs less than from the e-commerce websites, including Amazon or

A thorough and comprehensive answer on what to buy and how to get the best deals for this year’s Black Friday was upvoted by 306 users on Zhihu, China’s Quora-like Q&A website. For example, bloggers contributed answers to teach users how to purchase items directly from Amazon Japan and Amazon Germany.

Black Friday VS. Singles’ Day

On Weibo, China’s largest social media, some users expressed their satisfaction over the shopping festival. A user by the name “Sunshine 1011” posted “who said Black Friday is as good as Singles’ Day? Obviously, it’s even better. Happy hand-chopping festival!”

But others shoppers expressed frustration toward devaluing Chinese yuan. “I’m mad! This exchange rate is not appropriate for Black Friday!” the post read. The Chinese yuan dropped to an eight-year low in this month, making overseas purchasing less attractive.

Chinese yuan RMB per USD over the past one year.
Chinese yuan RMB per USD over the past one year.

Compared to Black Friday’s revenue, the Singles’ Day shopping festival is far more successful in China, even though it is also much younger. Alibaba confirmed that its e-commerce arms made new sales records of RMB 120.7 billion on November 11 this year.

We’ll continue to update the sales volume on Black Friday in China as soon as there is more information.

(Top photo from

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