E-commerce in China continues to gain strength, even as the country’s potential for continued growth is called into question by poor economic data and market fluctuations.
In the first half of 2015 China saw e-commerce transactions grow 30.4 percent on the year to 7.63 trillion yuan, or $1.2 trillion at current exchange, according to a new report from the China E-commerce Research Center (CECRC).
CECRC analysts cite the growth in China’s smartphone market, mobile payment options and 4G networks as being major drivers of the growth.
Online retail, including business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer sales, saw a significant jump of 48.7 percent, to 1.61 trillion yuan, or $252 million. This means 11.4 percent of China’s total retail sales in the first half of the year came through e-commerce.
Tmall still, unsurprisingly, ranks first in B2C market share, with 57.7 percent of the market, with JD.com accounting for 25.1 percent and Suning for 3.4 percent, the report said.
Business-to-business trade, however, still dominates the e-commerce market here, and in the first half B2B accounted for 5.8 trillion yuan, or $910 million, of total e-commerce transactions, representing a 28.8 percent year-on-year rise.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding cross-border e-commerce in China this year, as the opening of free trade zones in major ports, such as Shanghai, has made it easier than ever for goods to enter the country from overseas.
The report puts total cross-border e-commerce transactions at 2 trillion yuan, or $314 million, for the survey period, an increase of 42.8 percent.
CECRC analyst Zhangshou Ping believes the development of cross-border e-commerce will be a continuing trend in China.
“Cross-border e-commerce is showing a lot of momentum, it’s developing vigorously. More and more cross-border e-commerce companies will jump on this bandwagon and we will see a substantial increase in international market influence on China’s e-commerce,” he said.
To the end of June, 417 million people in China used e-commerce, up from 350 million over the same period in 2014, the CECRC report said.