China’s e-com can help Aus­tralia

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO - Hair­dressers (above) By XINHUA in Syd­ney

in Luwan, Shang­hai, give a live dis­play to a room filled with ap­pren­tices on how to deal with curly hair. The photo is taken from 1979.

Hair­dress­ing in China has, how­ever, evolved greatly over the years.

In Septem­ber, Ti­betan ap­pren­tices (right) hop­ing to make a good liv­ing from the trade learn to braid hair us­ing man­nequins in Qu­mar­leb county, in Qing­hai prov­ince’s Yushu Ti­betan au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture.

The ris­ing Chi­nese phe­nom­e­non of on­line en­tre­pre­neur­ial vil­lages also of­fers much po­ten­tial for the Aus­tralian mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba’s re­search team.

“There are cer­tainly op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth here and we have been re­ceiv­ing in­quiries about pos­si­ble ar­eas for de­vel­op­ment. For ex­am­ple, Aus­tralian prod­ucts con­tinue to be in de­mand in Chi­nese cities that Aus­tralian ru­ral busi­nesses can fill,” Sheng Zhen­zhong, deputy direc­tor of the Alire­search In­sti­tute, said on Thursday.

“We’ve seen how Aus­tralian prod­ucts such as milk pow­der and health sup­ple­ments are very pop­u­lar in China.”

Sheng, who over­sees Alibaba’s re­search center for “ru­ral dy­nam­ics”, was speak­ing on the side­lines of a pre­sen­ta­tion on Chi­nese ru­ral e-com­merce, on the first day of the Dig­i­tal En­able­ment Con­fer­ence, or­ga­nized by the Uni- ver­sity of New South Wales Busi­ness School.

The two-day con­fer­ence aimed to pro­vide a venue for shar­ing cut­ting-edge re­search and net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties among academia and busi­ness.

Seven years ago, groups of ru­ral en­trepreneurs who opened shops on Alibaba’s Taobao on­line shop­ping plat­form be­gan ap­pear­ing in China. The first of the so-called Taobao vil­lages to take up e-com­merce on a large scale was a farm­ing com­mu­nity in East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince. More than 1,000 house­holds in­volved in fur­ni­ture pro­duc­tion sub­se­quently joined the dig­i­tal mar­ket­place, ac­cord­ing to Alire­search.

The in­sti­tute de­scribes a vil­lage as a clus­ter of ru­ral elec­tronic re­tail­ers within an ad­min­is­tra­tive vil­lage, where res­i­dents get started on on­line com­merce spon­ta­neously, pri­mar­ily us­ing the Taobao mar­ket­place. The to­tal an­nual e-com­merce trans­ac­tion vol­ume is at least 10 mil­lion Chi­nese yuan ($1.45 mil­lion) and at least 10 per­cent of vil­lage house­holds “ac­tively en­gage in e-com­merce or at least 100 ac­tive on­line shops have been opened by vil­lagers”.

By the end of Au­gust, there were 1,311 Taobao vil­lages across China, ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tute.

In the past year alone, more than 47 mil­lion peo­ple bought T-shirts, more than 16 mil­lion bought toys and more than 3.5 mil­lion bought sun­glasses via the vil­lages, among other items.

“There are also many vil­lages that will be able to of­fer dis­tinct prod­ucts and some of these might meet the needs of Aus­tralian con­sumers, like out­door wear and ve­hi­cle ac­ces­sories,” Sheng said. “All these of­fer many op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

“From the in­sti­tute’s per­spec­tive, we also hope to use events like this con­fer­ence to tap de­vel­op­ments and ex­changes in the field over­seas to­ward these growth ar­eas, on top of our own work at home,” said the direc­tor.

WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY

HAO QUNYING / FOR CHINA DAILY

A worker pack­ages ru­ral prod­ucts that have been or­dered on­line in Guan­tao, He­bei prov­ince, in Novem­ber.

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