I have updated this post due to Alibaba’s latest policy to accept foreign-registered companies to set up TMall international store, please find details from my new post ‘How to Open Your TMall Store in China (New)‘. If you’re looking to set up TMall store as a China-registered company, please continue to read the rest of my post.
Serving more than 180 million buyers with e-commerce market share over 47%, TMall store is the most popular online B2C shopping platform run by Alibaba, the number one e-commerce platform provider in China. However, how easy is it for western companies to break into China market through setting up a TMall store? Here’s the requirements and steps for setting up your first TMall store in China.
Requirements for setting up a store
1. Businesses allowed
TMall only allows businesses registered in mainland China (P. R. China) to set up online store, these include legal person (company) and partnership (partnership company) who have already been granted business license. Before setting up the store, they need to apply for trademark in Chinese characters from Trademark Office of The State Administration For Industry & Commerce of People’s Republic of China and hold a certificate for trademark registration, or a notification of accepting the application for trademark from this office.
a. Cash deposit: Sellers must pay a cash deposit to guarantee that they followed the rules set by TMall and pay penalty fees to TMall and consumers according to the terms and conditions in ‘Taobao Store Service Agreement’ in case the sellers violate any rule. Any seller approved to set up a store must pay the full sum of anual deposit, which varies according to the type of stores.
Brand flagship store, speciality store: CYN 100,000 (USD 16,000) for stores with TM mark; CYN 50,000 (USD 8,000) for stores with R mark.
Monopolized store: CYN 150,000 (USD 24,000) for stores with TM mark; CYN 50,000 (USD 16,000) for stores with R mark.
b. Technical service fee: This is an anual fee that falls in two categories: CYN 30,000 (USD 4,800) and CYN 60,000 (USD 9,600).
c. Real-time deduction technology fee: A commission based on sales return (not including delivery cost)
3. Qualifications to join TMall
a. For brand or company
Enterprise qualification: Must hold the certificate of business license from P. R. China and tax registration certificate.
Brand qualification: Must hold certificate of China Trademark Rights or notification of trademark application.
Service qualification: Must comply with TMall’s service standard including 7 days free return/exchange, formal sales receipt and ‘points’ promotion.
b. For agency
Enterprise qualification: Must hold the certificate of business license from P R China and tax registration certificate.
Brand qualification: Must hold formal certificate of brand authorization (or formal certificate of purchase channels, if the seller has multiple brands in one store)
Service qualification: Must comply with TMall’s service standard including 7 days free return/exchange, formal sales receipt and shopping points promotion.
Process of setting up the store
1. Apply for enterprise Alipay account and pass seller authentication
a. The seller must provide a new Alipay account which is not tied to an Taobao member.
b. If you already have a company account authenticated by the seller but not complying with Taobao’s requirements, you can apply for a new account and link it to the seller’s account.
2. Sign into online application page
a. Sign into online application page at: http://zhaoshang.tmall.com, click ‘Join TMall immediately’.
b. Take the online TMall entry test. Click ‘Enter TMall immediately’ to read Ts & Cs and take the test.
3. Submit information
a. Submit your information and sign the agrement online: After passing the test and authenticating Alipay account, fill in company information online and accept TMall online service terms, service agreement and Alipay payment agreement.
b. Upload brand logo: The logo uploaded must be the same as the one filed in the Trademark office.
4. Wait for approval
a. Post your enterprise qualification and brand qualification to TMall for approval. All documents must be photocopied and stamped with company seal and will not be returned.
b. Use TMall account credentials to log into ‘My Taobao – I am a buyer – TMAll service zone’, complete the payment of cash deposit and technology service fee within 15 days.
5. List products and get the store online
a. Use TMall account credentials to log into ‘My Taobao – I am a buyer – TMAll service zone’, click ‘List products’ and upload products following the steps shown on the page within 30 days.
b. Click ‘Next, get store online’, the store will go live.
6. Learn TMall skills: Go to TMAll Training Center to get trained on setting up and managingTMall online store.
Although it involves quite a bit of paper work and preparation to set up your TMAll store, if you don’t already have a presence in China you can still work with a local partner to do this. We can help you either set up your business in China, register your trademark, or just find you a local partner to set up a TMall store and start your business online immediately.