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Amazon’s Banned China Sellers Turn to Walmart’s Marketplace

Merchants dropped over fake reviews and ratings are rushing to sell on the brick-and-mortar giant’s online site to reach U.S. consumers.

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Illustration: Simoul Alva for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ever since Inc. began kicking tens of thousands of Chinese merchants off its platform last April for faking customer reviews, the purged sellers have searched for new ways to reach the millions of bargain-hunting American consumers. That’s tough for companies with no brand identity or marketing budgets in the U.S. So for many, the best Plan B has been setting up shop on the e-commerce arm of Walmart Inc., which boasts the sort of logistical support and online traffic closest to Amazon’s.

The timing was serendipitous for Walmart, which in early 2021 started an initiative to attract non-U.S. merchants to its e-commerce site. By yearend, Chinese sellers accounted for an estimated 1 in 7 of those joining its marketplace. But industry veterans say that means Walmart and other online retailers could face the same problems that led Amazon to ban so many Chinese sellers in the first place.