Amazon Japan portal adopts UnionPay to attract Chinese shoppers

Jasper Cheung, chief executive officer of Amazon Japan Inc.’s website in Japan will start accepting UnionPay cards, as the web retailer steps up efforts to sell more merchandise to Chinese shoppers across Asia.

China UnionPay Co., with more than 6 billion cards in circulation, is now a key rival to Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and other issuers and has become an important way for retailers around the globe to attract Chinese tourists and consumers. UnionPay can now be used across Amazon Japan’s website starting yesterday, the Seattle- based company said.

Amazon, which debuted in Japan in 2000, rolled out a Simplified Chinese-language version of its website last year to cater to booming demand by shoppers seeking everything from Japanese books and music to cosmetics and baby products. The number of online customers from the mainland rose fivefold since early 2016, according to Jasper Cheung, president of Amazon Japan. Amazon’s revenue in the country rose 31 percent to USD10.8 billion in 2016.

“We continue to drive more selection available for export, and we’ve increased it by 50 percent,” Cheung said. “The biggest-selling categories have been books, health and beauty, baby products and kitchen appliances.”

Amazon Japan is catering to an emerging class of consumers who are willing to shop online within Asia, and offers reduced shipping rates to homes and businesses in mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. E-commerce demand from China to Japan alone is projected to almost triple to 2.34 trillion yen (USD22.5 billion) in 2019, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Chinese tourists, now a constant presence in Tokyo’s stores, often stock up on authentic Made-in-Japan products during their visits to the archipelago. The number of Chinese tourists in Japan rose 28 percent last year to 6.4 million visitors.  Reed Stevenson, Grace HuangBloomberg

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