China Daily (Hong Kong)

Nation’s cross-border e-commerce with ASEAN accelerate­s


NANNING — The past summer vacation has been especially busy for Jariya Unthong, a Thai-language teacher based in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, who has been routinely invited by a local company to livestream and peddle products to Thai consumers via e-commerce platform Lazada.

Unthong is a teacher from Guangxi University in the regional capital of Nanning and has lived in the city for more than a decade. Since last year, she has been livestream­ing products and training new livestream­ers for Nanning-headquarte­red cross-border e-commerce company Tus-Innovation.

She said that judging from her own experience­s, online shopping, especially purchasing China-made products from online platforms, has been catching on with consumers in Thailand.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic, more Thai consumers have taken a liking to online shopping,” she said. “Our livestream­ing sessions offer them quality products with a simple click on their phones and also help with epidemic prevention and control.”

Zhao Hui, director of Tus-Innovation’s overseas project, said the company’s cross-border e-commerce business has been expanding rapidly in Southeast Asia, as seen by the surging traffic of its livestream­ing sessions.

“When we launched livestream­ing in 2019, some of our sessions only had dozens of viewers from Southeast Asia. Now thousands of people tune in to our livestream­ing sessions,” Zhao said.

Tus-Innovation is one of a large number of companies that have jumped on the bandwagon of crossborde­r e-commerce to tap into opportunit­ies brought by the thriving trade between China and the Associatio­n of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

Bilateral trade between China and ASEAN reached 2.66 trillion yuan ($411.9 billion) in the first half of 2021, up 27.8 percent year-onyear, the General Administra­tion of Customs said.

Guangxi is at the forefront of China’s opening-up to ASEAN thanks to its geographic­al proximity, and the region has seen its cross-border e-commerce sector boom in recent years on the back of strong trade with ASEAN.

The free-trade zone in Guangxi reported a transactio­n volume of over 3.4 billion yuan in cross-border e-commerce in the first half of this year, according to official statistics.

Nanning and the border city of Chongzuo in Guangxi have also been approved as State-level crossborde­r e-commerce comprehens­ive pilot zones to further boost the sector’s developmen­t in the region.

Guangxi’s thriving cross-border e-commerce sector is also attracting more talent from ASEAN countries. The Lazada Cross-Border Eco-Innovation Service Center (Nanning), establishe­d by Tus-Innovation in 2019, employs over 200 livestream­ers from Southeast Asia and has been providing training and holding contests for the livestream­ers.

Government officials and entreprene­urs from Guangxi expected the 18th China-ASEAN Expo, scheduled in Nanning from Sept 10 to 13, to inject further impetus into its cross-border e-commerce sector.

Wang Lei, secretary-general of the expo secretaria­t, said this year’s expo invited famous influencer­s to livestream the event and introduce products made in Southeast Asian countries, helping those products enter the Chinese market.

The 2021 China-ASEAN Silk Road Cross-border E-commerce Forum was convened on the sidelines of the expo and brought together experts and entreprene­urs to discuss how to further develop the sector and tackle challenges during the pandemic.

Su Jian, deputy director of the Guangxi regional commerce department, said he hopes the forum will help boost the developmen­t of crossborde­r e-commerce in China and ASEAN countries, and deepen China-ASEAN e-commerce cooperatio­n in fields including technology, resources, talent and informatio­n.

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