Over­seas shop­pers sus­tain Chi­nese e-com­merce boom

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By SHI JING in Shang­hai shi­jing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

An in­ter­na­tional stu­dent from Europe checks the parcels couri­ered by e-com­merce firms at a univer­sity dor­mi­tory in Bei­jing.

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