If you ever bought power banks, water bottles, toys, or other daily goods on Amazon, the chances are your suppliers are from China. Analysts have estimated that the share of Chinese merchants represented 75% of Amazon’s new sellers in January, up from 47% the year before, according to Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research firm.
Chinese sellers are swarming not just Amazon but also eBay, Wish, Shopee and Alibaba’s AliExpress. The boom is in part a result of intense domestic competition in China’s online retail world, which forces merchants to seek new markets. Traditional exporters are turning to e-commerce, cutting out excessive distributors. Businesses are enchanted by the tale that a swathe of the priciest property in Shenzhen, an expensive city known for its tech and manufacturing, is now owned by people who made a fortune from e-commerce export.
But the get-rich-quick optimism among the cross-border community came to a halt when several top Chinese sellers disappeared from Amazon over the past few days. At least eleven accounts that originate from Greater China were suspended, according to Juozas Kaziukenas, founder of Marketplace Pulse.
Several accounts belong to the same parent firms, as it’s normal for big sellers, those with more than a million dollars in annual sales, to operate multiple brands on Amazon to optimize sales.
Mpower and Aukey, whose Amazon stores are gone and were two of the most successful brands native to the American marketplace.
In total, the suspended accounts contribute over a billion dollars in gross merchandise value (GMV) to Amazon, said Kaziukenas.
Amazon didn’t comment on the status of the suspended accounts, but said in a statement that it has “long-standing policies to protect the integrity of our store, including product authenticity, genuine reviews, and products meeting the expectations of our customers.”
“We take swift action against those that violate them, including suspending or removing selling privileges,” said an Amazon spokesperson.
Chinese e-commerce exporters were startled by the incident.
“This isn’t the first time Amazon has shut down accounts over fake reviews and other behavior that violate its rules, but the scale of this wave is unprecedented,” said Bill Zhang, who develops and exports smart training suits through Amazon.