New trad­ing town of­fers a wealth of tastes from around the world

China Daily (USA) - - G20 2016 CHINA - By MENGJING in Hangzhou

Be it cos­metic prod­ucts from South Korea or wine from Italy, res­i­dents in Hangzhou city, East China’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince, can get their hands on a wide range of im­ported prod­ucts via a few clicks on­line.

But rather than mak­ing cross-bor­der or­ders and pray­ing that the de­liv­er­ies will look ex­actly like what is shown on e-com­merce sites, those who live in Hangzhou are lucky enough to be able to check out prod­ucts in brick-and-mor­tar stores first, thanks to an in­no­va­tive cross-bor­der shop­ping area in the city.

In the newly opened cross­bor­der trad­ing town, a 2.9 square kilo­me­ter clus­ter for the emerg­ing cross-bor­der e-com­merce in­dus­try in down­town Hangzhou, more than 20 coun­try pavil­ions, in­clud­ing Spain and Canada, of­fer shop­pers thou­sands of im­ported prod­ucts to choose from.

“Cus­tomers can check out and test what­ever prod­ucts they like and then de­cide which ones they want to buy,” saidHuang Jianya, head of the Bul­garia pav­il­ion. In Huang’s pav­il­ion, there are many sam­ples of the pop­u­lar Bul­gar­ian rose oil, which can be tested by shop­pers.

Hav­ing made their de­ci­sions, cus­tomers can then place or­ders on­line and the goods, which are al­ready in bonded ware­houses in Hangzhou, will be de­liv­ered to their doorsteps within three days of clear­ing cus­toms.

With Chi­nese con­sumers’ taste be­com­ing more so­phis­ti­cated, a grow­ing num­ber of them want non-stan­dard­ized and cus­tom­ized prod­ucts from all cor­ners of the world, said a man sur­named Zhuang, who is a co-founder of the France pav­il­ion.

“Many of China’s shop­pers pre­vi­ously turned to over­seas shop­ping agents for help. But by us­ing this bonded ware­house model, we can pur­chase a large vol­ume of goods di­rectly from over­seas sup­pli­ers at a whole­sale price,” he said, adding that the in­no­va­tive model can guar­an­tee gen­uine prod­ucts and faster de­liv­ery.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port on cross-bor­der e-com­merce by multi­na­tional con­sul­tancy Ac­cen­ture, China is ex­pected to be­come the world’s big­gest cross-bor­der busi­ness-to-cus­tomer mar­ket by 2020.

The on­line-to-off­line shop­ping pavil­ions, of­fi­cial op­er­a­tions of which be­gan in June, are part of Hangzhou’s ef­fort to boost cross-bor­der e-com­merce.

The city, which is home to China’s e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba Group, was cho­sen last year byChina’s cen­tral govern­ment as the coun­try’s first com­pre­hen­sive cross-bor­der e-com­merce pilot zone.

Zhang Ke, head of the Hangzhou cross-bor­der trad­ing town, said that the coun­try pavil­ions rep­re­sent more than just the buy­ing and sell­ing of global goods. “They are to pro­mote the cul­ture of liv­ing in a global vil­lage via cross-bor­der e-com­merce,” he said.

“We want to build an en­tire in­dus­trial clus­ter based on cross-bor­der e-com­merce. It is hard to be­lieve that a fewyears ago this place was full of fac­to­ries,” Zhang said.

New of­fice build­ings can now be seen where fac­to­ries once stood and in­cu­ba­tors have been set up to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of star­tups in a bid to at­tract cross-bor­der com­pa­nies to set­tle in the area.

Of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics showed that cross-bor­der e-com­merce trans­ac­tions in Hangzhou surged to $3.46 bil­lion last year, the first year of its op­er­a­tion as a com­pre­hen­sive pilot zone for cross-bor­der e-com­merce, from less than $20 mil­lion in 2014.

WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY

A cus­tomer asks about a bot­tle of wine on sale at the trad­ing town, a 2.9-sq-km clus­ter in down­town Hangzhou de­signed to boost the emerg­ing cross-bor­der e-com­merce in­dus­try.

HUANG ZONGZHI / XIN­HUA

Cus­tomers browse at a store sell­ing Aus­tralian prod­ucts at the cross-bor­der trad­ing town on May 26.

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