By Xiao Xinxin, Jiao Xiang
Last year, the number of overseas warehouses established by Chinese enterprises for cross-border e-commerce rose by 80 percent, according to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
Chinese companies own more than 1,800 overseas warehouses, which cover an area of over 12 million square meters, as revealed by data from the MOC.
Against the backdrop of daunting challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to international trade, overseas warehouses of Chinese enterprises played a more important role in 2020, when China speeded up the innovative development of its foreign trade and saw over 10,000 traditional foreign trade companies begin to engage in e-commerce, and cross-border e-commerce became a major way for enterprises to conduct international trade and promote innovative development of foreign trade.
Zongteng Group, a global infrastructure service provider for cross-border e-commerce headquartered in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, runs a warehouse in Birmingham, the United Kingdom (UK).
Equipped with highly automated facilities such as attic-style shelves and parcel sorting machines that can sort out 3,600 items of goods per hour, the warehouse can help deliver goods in the UK and to other European countries quickly and accurately.
Overseas warehouses contributed greatly to ensuring the supply of anti-epidemic materials in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Michelle, manager of the company’s overseas warehouses in the UK, who added that overseas warehouses helped coordinate and mobilize anti-epidemic materials and household products to satisfy the demand of the European market amid the outbreak, with an average of 80,000 orders being handled per day.
Zongteng Group has established a total of 36 warehouses in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and other major developed countries. Covering an area of over one million square meters, the group’s overseas warehouses have a total of more than 1,500 employees.
With the advantages of flexibility and more stable supply chains, overseas warehouses allow companies to adjust their product selection strategy in time and can strengthen the ability of Chinese companies to respond to changes in foreign consumer demands and market environment, said Li Cong, vice president of Zongteng Group.
Okorder.com, a cross-border e-commerce platform under the China National Building Material Group Co., Ltd. (CNBM), has established an overseas warehouse in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
With an area of 52,000 square meters, the warehouse sells products from various companies, including building materials, machinery and equipment, to over 10 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Algeria, according to Bruce, an executive of the warehouse.
Zhuang Xiaofeng, an executive with a woodwork manufacturer that has joined the warehouse, noted that the company saw its sales rise against the trend amid the pandemic thanks to the high-quality warehousing services and brand promotions provided by the warehouse.
WINIT Information Technology Co. (Winit Corporation), a Shanghai-based integrated supply chain solution provider for cross-border e-commerce, owns 13 overseas warehouses and provides overseas warehousing and delivery services for more than 20,000 cross-border e-commerce companies around the world.
The company’s overseas warehouses handle 200,000 orders daily on average and send over 300,000 parcels every day.
These overseas warehouses have adopted the management model and experience of China’s logistics sector, greatly improving logistics efficiency and allowing goods to be delivered to customers faster, said an executive of a Canadian partner company of Winit Corporation.
Overseas warehouses made it possible for Canadian customers to enjoy the fast express delivery services Chinese people enjoy, which has become an important competitive advantage of the company and driven rapid growth of its sales, according to the executive.
With the help of the automated assembly lines, three-dimensional warehouses, intelligent robots, and other facilities in the overseas warehouses of Winit Corporation, the Canadian company increased its goods storage efficiency by 30 percent and parcel sorting speed by 70 percent, and saw a significant rise in profits, the executive added.
While the pandemic has attacked the business of global physical stores, and more and more consumers in various countries have turned to online shopping, Chinese enterprises have enhanced the localization-oriented operation capabilities of overseas warehouses, not only meeting local needs for employment and consumption, but promoting the development of local warehousing, logistics and e-commerce industries.
“We have developed a logistics network that covers 320 cities in Russia, and allows residents in 1,500 residential areas receive their parcels the next day after they place an order,” said Zhang Wenting, general manager of IML, a leader in logistics market for online stores based in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province.
Mainly engaged in overseas warehousing in Russia, China-Russia and China-Ukraine express business, IML runs four overseas warehouses, which cover an area of 35,000 square meters and serve 12,000 sellers.
The company pursues a localized and professional operation model, and more than 70 percent of its staff members are Russian.