Click profit online in China

Updated: 2014-05-26 07:42

By MENG JING (China Daily)

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A recent PwC Global Total Retail Survey of 15,000 online respondents from 15 territories found that the Chinese respondents were more active in online shopping compared to their global counterparts.

About 62 percent of the Chinese respondents said they shop online every week, compared with just 21 percent of global respondents. In addition, these people more often use social media and also make purchases through mobile devices.

The Chinese government has seen e-commerce as the catalyst that will help it transition from an export-oriented society to one that is more driven by domestic purchases.

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According to studies conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, online shopping, which directly generates more than 10 million jobs, will drive about 5.48 percent of China's economic growth by 2020.

"It may seem like a small number, but it can have a strong influence on the economy. Not only will the size of the economy increase, but the economic structure can also benefit from the e-influence," says Li Yongjian, head of Information and e-Business Studies at the National Academy of Economic Strategy at the Beijing-based academy.

The conveniences associated with online shopping also help in narrowing the purchasing gap between urban and rural China. "People have access to the same products online, be it in first-tier cities or fourth-tier cities," Li says.

The online purchasing power of small cities or even counties in China is something that cannot be ignored for companies looking to carve a niche in China. Alipay, the e-payment arm of Alibaba, found that residents of Yiwu, Zhejiang (home to a major wholesale market for appliances, accessories and toys) spent an average of 40,000 yuan online in 2013, more than twice the amount for Beijing.

On Alipay's top 100 list of small cities and counties, 36 out of the 100 localities were in Zhejiang. Jiangsu province ranked second, with 27 small cities, followed by Fujian with 13.

Residents of the top 100 small cities and counties shopped online eight times on average last year. Those who spent more than 1 million yuan in 2013 mostly came from Yiwu and Cangnan county in Zhejiang, as well as Changshu, a city in Jiangsu province.