New rules to boost e-com­merce sales

On­line re­tail­ers are ex­pected to ben­e­fit from poli­cies geared to­ward fu­el­ing greater growth in the sec­tor

China Daily European Weekly - - Front Page - By HE WEI in Shang­hai [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Busi­nesses en­gaged in cross­bor­der e-com­merce say they stand to ben­e­fit from a slew of pref­er­en­tial poli­cies un­veiled by the State Coun­cil on Nov 21 to boost the sec­tor’s de­vel­op­ment and fur­ther un­lock con­sump­tion po­ten­tial.

Mea­sures to sim­plify pro­ce­dures for the en­try of first-time im­ported items, ex­pand prod­uct cat­e­gories to en­joy pref­er­en­tial rates, and lift the bar for pur­chase lim­its per head are clear in­di­ca­tions that China aims to use cross-bor­der e-com­merce as an im­pe­tus to fuel steady eco­nomic growth, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try play­ers and ex­perts.

“The string of poli­cies are seen as con­crete steps taken to im­ple­ment Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s pledge to fur­ther open up the econ­omy and ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of ecom­merce, which was made dur­ing the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo” in Shang­hai from Nov 5 to 10, says Zhang Lei, CEO of NetEase Kaola, a lead­ing Chi­nese cross-bor­der por­tal.

“It is a strate­gic com­mit­ment to the in­dus­try as a whole and is con­ducive to driv­ing con­sump­tion up­grade and ad­vanc­ing eco­nomic growth,” she says.

The com­pany had pledged to pro­cure 20 bil­lion yuan ($2.9 bil­lion; 2.5 bil­lion eu­ros; £2.25 bil­lion) worth of goods with 110 com­pa­nies dur­ing the six-day event to beef up its im­ported prod­uct in­ven­tory and meet the grow­ing needs of the coun­try’s tens of mil­lions of mid­dle- and high-in­come earn­ers.

Zhang made a spe­cial ref­er­ence to the ad­di­tion of 63 cat­e­gories, and the in­crease in the limit on pur­chases of goods that are el­i­gi­ble for pref­er­en­tial poli­cies, which she says can not only spark spend­ing in af­ford­able lux­ury items, elec­tron­ics and beauty prod­ucts, but fur­ther ad­just and op­ti­mize cross-bor­der e-com­merce cat­e­gories.

Also jump­ing on the global pro­cure­ment band­wagon is Tmall Global, the ded­i­cated cross-bor­der plat­form of Alibaba Group, which an­nounced a plan to help im­port $200 bil­lion worth of goods over the next five years.

“We see con­tin­ued sta­bil­ity and cer­tainty on the pol­icy front,” says Liu Peng, gen­eral man­ager of Tmall Global Im­port & Ex­port. “It is a clear nod to the in­no­va­tive model of the en­tire cross-bor­der e-com­merce model in China.”

Im­ported mer­chan­dise hogged the lime­light dur­ing Alibaba’s iconic Nov 11 shop­ping fes­ti­val this year. With­out dis­clos­ing sales fig­ures, the com­pany said it took just over six hours for cross-bor­der on­line trans­ac­tions to reach last year’s full-day record on Tmall Global.

For­eign brands can also har­ness Chi­nese com­pa­nies’ ex­pan­sive an­a­lyt­ics and tech­nolo­gies to dis­cover op­por­tu­ni­ties, fine-tune prod­uct se­lec­tion and craft cam­paign mes­sages tai­lored to the Chi­nese con­sumers, Liu says.

Cross-bor­der e-com­merce is a bet­ter way for for­eign brands to make their Chi­nese mar­ket de­but, thanks to eas­ier ac­cess, lower costs and re­duced time for mar­ket en­trance, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Tian­bing of Deloitte Asia-Pa­cific.

Cao Lei, di­rec­tor of the China E-Com­merce Re­search Cen­ter, says the en­hanced poli­cies will also “pro­pel dif­fer­ent e-com­merce play­ers to re­ally build up their re­spec­tive strengths and tighten their grip on re­source in­te­gra­tion from pro­cure­ment, lo­gis­tics, cus­toms and sales ... to pro­vide gen­uine end-to-end qual­ity ser­vices”.

Zhang from Kaola also finds it en­cour­ag­ing that gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties are work­ing on tax re­fund poli­cies to boost Chi­nese com­pa­nies’ ex­ports via e-com­merce. She says such en­deav­ors will in­spire Kaola to em­power Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers and help Chi­nese brands tap into for­eign con­sumers.

LYU BIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Parcels are checked at the cus­toms fa­cil­ity in Yiwu, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

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