Surpassing local e-commerce giants, AliExpress’ hurricane sweeps across South Korea, with customs clearance delays feared to reach up to 30 days

AliExpress' storm hits South Korea, causing possible 30-day customs delays and surpassing local e-commerce giants

As a global e-commerce platform under China’s technology giant Alibaba, AliExpress has become an important part of Alibaba’s expansion in recent years. South Korea is one of the key countries for its development.

Data shows that as of 2020, China is the largest market for cross-border purchases in South Korea, accounting for 48.3% of the total purchase volume. In order to take advantage of this trend, AliExpress began investing in logistics and marketing in South Korea at the end of last year, worth 100 billion Korean won.

In March of this year, AliExpress partnered with CJ Logistics to shorten delivery time from 1-2 weeks to 3-5 days. With simple payment, free 5-day delivery, and local customer centers, it has taken a leading position in the direct purchase market.

Image source: Naver Cafe ‘All About Ali’

However, recently, on the internet community (NAVER) where AliExpress consumers gather, posts about delivery delays have rapidly increased since early April.

South Korean consumers have reported that ordinary express products that usually arrive in about two weeks have been delayed for up to a month. In addition, the 5-day delivery has also been delayed or exceeded the delivery time.

Image source: Incheon Customs Express Logistics Center

The Korea Customs Service stated on the 28th that due to the increase in direct purchase goods from China entering South Korea, there have been delays in clearance time at the Pyeongtaek Customs. Therefore, the goods are being transported to the Incheon Customs. Due to delays in delivery during customs clearance, consumers who purchased products on AliExpress are experiencing delivery delays of up to one month.

Market dominance due to relatively low prices

The popularity of AliExpress is also reflected in the numbers. An analysis by Forbes Korea’s joint big data platform IGA Works shows that among the 2.5 million cross-users of the two major e-commerce platforms, AliExpress and Coupang, the average usage time per person on AliExpress is 2.69 hours, while Coupang is 2.3 hours.

Source: IGA Works

As a representative of China’s e-commerce, AliExpress has once again overtaken the Korean giant, Coupang, after surpassing it in app downloads last year.

Recently, AliExpress has also upgraded its delivery guarantee in the Korean region, ensuring fast delivery within 5 days. If it fails to meet the standard, customers can receive coupons. In addition, the platform attaches great importance to quality issues such as counterfeits and substandard products, and plans to strengthen monitoring and establish an anti-counterfeiting system to prevent harm to consumers.

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