E-commerce doubles up at symposium
Updated: 2014-11-04 07:51
By Zhao Yinan(China Daily)
I was right in guessing that there would be a big name from e-commerce at Monday's meeting to advise the premier on next year's economy, but I didn't expect there would be two.
Liu Qiangdong, founder of e-commerce company JD.com Inc, and Luo Feng, chairman of Internet direct-selling platform IZP Technologies Co Ltd, were both invited to attend the economic symposium to offer grassroots facts and complaints to Premier Li Keqiang.
As the premier said at the beginning of the meeting, Monday's symposium was held to solicit advice from experts and business people on economic development in the fourth quarter and the strategy to sustain growth for the world's second-largest economy in 2015.
The importance of such a meeting is self-evident. But the fact that two Internet-based retailing leaders had been chosen to sit in on Li's meeting - half of the total four speakers from businesses - is interesting and thought-provoking.
While China's retail sector has been on a downward track for months, Internet-based sales have been an increasingly significant support for domestic consumption, surging nearly 50 percent year-on-year in the first nine months.
"Some may complain about the market and the demand, but the e-commerce industry hasn't felt many pinches," JD.com's Liu told the premier.
He described how his self-established delivery network has made goods more accessible for rural residents, whose buying power was often underestimated due to the lack of shopping choices in villages, and how he is planning to clean up counterfeit products.
In fact, it was not the first time that the premier has invited e-commerce leaders to join his symposium. Last year, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd who has become China's latest richest person after posting the largest IPO in history, was sitting in the same chair in the same room, telling the premier how Internet-based industries could overcome the barriers of traditional retailing and take the Chinese economy into a new sphere.
Twelve months later, the volume of e-commerce in China has already surpassed that in the United States, and the industry came first among the six fields that the premier designated as consumption drivers at a meeting last week.
But keeping this driver's engine running fast as well as healthy may prove to be equally as difficult, if not more so, than simply starting it. Measures are needed right away to promote the use of broadband in remote areas, reduce logistics costs and address rising complaints of fraud. After all, the industry is not only something that can unleash potential domestic demand, but is also a means to promote social fairness.
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(China Daily 11/04/2014 page3)