Overseas shoppers sustain Chinese e-commerce boom
The Chinese online shopping market has boomed in recent years as local shoppers took to it like duck to water, and will likely continue to boom on the back of indulgent consumers overseas.
According to a cross-border trade report jointly released by online payment provider PayPal and research firm Ipsos, China rose to be the most popular cross-border e-commerce destination for the first time in 2016, dislodging the United States and the United Kingdom.
Up to 21 percent of the 28,000 respondents from 32 countries said they had shopped on Chinese websites last year.
China’s online market is even more appealing to Russian shoppers. Latest figures provided by Russia’s largest e-payment service Yandex shows that Russian consumers spent up to $4.3 billion on cross-border e-commerce platforms last year. And 80 percent of that amount was spent on Chinese platforms.
Many Chinese e-commerce platforms are striving to make themselves known to the outside world.
Alibaba Group is one of the best examples. In 2010, it set up its international B2C marketplace AliExpress, which had more than 100 million overseas buyers from 220 countries and regions by April 10 this year.
Over the past 12 months, AliExpress registered over 60 million active users. More than 20 million of them had made purchases on the platform.
Shen Difan, general manager of AliExpress, said one of the medium-term targets of Alibaba’s go-global campaign is 100 million users. By 2025, Alibaba expects to serve 2 billion consumers worldwide, among whom 1 billion would be overseas users.
Another leading platform JD rolled out its cross-border B2C platform in 2015, with an English version and a Russian version.
The platform aims at helping Chinese companies’ quality products and well-known brands to reach international markets. Leading discount e-commerce platform Vip launched its flash sale platform VIPme at the end of 2015 to test the waters in overseas markets.
iReserach estimates the total cross-border e-commerce volume, including both retail and B2B sales, reached 6.3 trillion yuan ($921.9 billion) in 2016, a number that is expected to reach 8.8 trillion yuan by 2018.
At a time when China is faced with some difficulties in exports, cross-border e-commerce platforms are raising fresh hopes for high economic growth.
The government has announced related regulations in the past two years to facilitate the development of cross-border trade.
In 2015, the Ministry of Commerce announced a guideline to promote the establishment of 100 overseas warehouses of Chinese e-commerce platforms. The State Council also confirmed in an executive meeting in 2016 the establishment of 12 cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in the country.
Data from internet market consultancy iResearch show that China’s total online shopping rose 24.7 percent year-onyear to reach 4.7 trillion yuan last year. That was 14 percent of China’s total retail volume.
The Ministry of Commerce said China has been the world’s largest online retail market since it outperformed the US in 2013. Total e-commerce in China was worth 26.1 trillion yuan last year, or 39.2 percent of the global volume.
An international student from Europe checks the parcels couriered by e-commerce firms at a university dormitory in Beijing.