Generally speaking, the gentler gender are out of the business limelight in China, with a paltry 3.6% involved according to Women Entrepreneurs Report released by Alibaba Group late last month. At the same time, it revealed that she-commerce has a far deeper footprint on Taobao, where 50.1% of the online shopping platform traders are businesses started by women. Alibaba should know. There are 8.5 million active shops in total on its Juhuasuan, Taobao and Tmall platforms, and this makes for a sizeable sample.
More Intriguing She-Commerce Trends
The report goes on to mention that this market penetration does not represent a growth in clothing and cosmetic dealers. In fact, Chinese women are muscling into booming furniture and digi product markets where men have dominated previously. Could this be a sign of a more aggressive liberation movement? Certainly, many Chinese women are keen to loosen the shackles of their inherited culture.
Interestingly enough, the new she-commerce traders are more likely to come from the northeast provinces of Chongqing, Sichuan and Hong Kong – as opposed to the mega-metropoles of Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Their average age is 32 – a significant contrast to their 15-year-older male peers in more traditional industries. This suggests the 50.1% market share could grow.
Contributors to She-Commerce Success
Clearly, housewives in more rural areas are starting to make money to supplement family income in the economic down turn. Doing so from home with lower set-up costs makes more sense than starting a brick-and-mortar business especially as it enables access to consumers in remote places. Moreover, it is they who keep the household going and face the family across the dinner table.
Signs of a Cultural Backlash
When South China Morning Post reporters Alice Yan and Laura Zhou interviewed Shanghai-based angel Xu Zijian he painted a subtly different picture. “When women entrepreneurs face difficult times there is more pressure on them than men,” he explained. Many of their friends and relatives suggest they should quit and return to families to be a good wife or a good mother.” So she-commerce has a way to go still in the public mind.