Nippon Express and Alibaba Team Up For Cheaper Cross Border Shipping from Japan to China


Nippon Express will work with ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding to ship Japanese goods to China for around 30% less than current prevailing rates, reports Retail News Asia.

The Japanese shipper will transport goods from companies doing business on Alibaba’s Tmall platform to China, while an Alibaba affiliate will handle the last mile delivery. Goods can either be delivered across the sea when ordered or shipped by surface in advance and then stored first  in warehouses.

In teaming up with Tmall, which controls 60% of China’s online retail market, Nippon Express aims to handle half of all online purchases headed there from Japan.

Currently, Japan Post ships 90% of online purchases traveling to China via airmail with its express-mail service. But a fee hike of around 30% in June to $13.68 for packages up to 500 grams has raised headwinds to the service’s use.

Nippon Express and Alibaba will also take on the complex business of dealing with customs for companies on Tmall. Following the changed rules regarding China’s cross border ecommerce in April, information needs to be given about what’s being shipped, prices and logistics are to be submitted electronically.

Nippon Express will be the first Japanese logistics company to create a digital link with Alibaba allowing this data to be combined and submitted in one neat package.

A number of Japanese companies are competing to offer better and cheaper shipping options to China, opening up opportunities even for smaller players in the market. For example, Yamato Holdings inked a partnership in April with companies including, Tmall’s smaller rival, to offer international shipping and home delivery.

Ecommerce is growing more important to Japanese companies as a source of continuous demand from China.

A version of this appeared on Retail News Asia on August 3. Read the full version here.