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March 19, 2012

Online Shopping Gathers Momentum in China

E-commerce in China: The great leap online | The Economist:

eCommerce spending in China is rapidly increasing and new more Western styled business to consumer (B2C) websites are starting to appear as the market is slowly starting to shift away from consumer to consumer (C2C) sites. 


WHEN it comes to e-commerce, America is still top dog, with some 170m punters scouring for bargains on the internet. However, China is not far behind, with 145m online shoppers, and it could become the world’s most valuable e-commerce market within four years.
In a new report, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) calculates that every year for the foreseeable future another 30m Chinese will go online to shop for the first time. By 2015 they will each be spending $1,000 a year—about what Americans spend online now. BCG calculates that e-commerce could rise from 3.3% of China’s retail sales today to 7.4% by 2015—a jump that took a decade in America.
There are estimated to be more than 485 million Chinese surfing the net in China, of which more than 173 million are shopping online. These numbers are growing with a quarter of Chinese shoppers seek products online because they are not available at physical stores. Also, until recently, China lacked a reliable and cheap method of shipping packages, so the e-commerce industry has invested in developing one. Purchases on Taobao, an online Goliath that is a division of China’s Alibaba, are thought to account for a staggering 50% of all packages shipped in China. The cost of shipping parcels is now a mere one-sixth of what firms in America have to pay.