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China Is A Huge Opportunity For Australian Online Retailers

(Photo: Getty Images)

It’s not just Australia’s miners selling into China, with new online platform Market Engine retailers can now take advantage of the Asian powerhouse’s growing urbanised population.

The cloud startup gives companies a translated shopfront and access to half a billion Chinese customers without a physical presence in the country.

Market Engine plugs into e-commerce sites, including Alibaba, to provide real time currency conversions, secure transactions and on-the-ground customer support and marketing.

Company founder Roy Hui said the e-commerce play removes many of the barriers Australian business faces when trying to expand in China.

“Our technology speaks the local language. It bridges the cultural divide, cuts the cost and dramatically increases the customer base for Aussie retailers,” Hui said.

Retail is Australia’s biggest industry but sales have slowed. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics October retail sales data showed the seasonally adjusted estimate rose 0.4% for the month, following an upwardly revised 1.3% in September (from the 1.2% reported previously) and a rise of 0.1% in August 2014.

The recent data suggests Australian consumers are cautious when it comes to spending. More on that here.

Hui said it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of the Chinese market where in 2013 online sales totalled a whopping $300 billion.

Market Engine estimates there are 600 million internet users in China, of which 500 million are on mobile and 300 million are active internet shoppers.

“China represents a bigger market than the US,” the company said.

Hui said the reputation of Australian products in the market is that they’re seen as safe, good quality and luxury items.

“There is also a huge appetite for Australian products in China,” he said, adding tailoring a business to suit the local market helps gain traction.

“Market Engine offers that same tailored solution for companies to sell directly to Chinese consumers from their offices in Australia,” he said.

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