E-commerce insiders seek to break barriers

Updated: 2014-09-10 10:59


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XIAMEN - While Chinese consumers do much of their shopping with the click of a mouse or a fingertip, some foreign products aren't so easily obtained.

Chinese and foreign e-commerce insiders gathered at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade, which runs Sept 8 to 11 in Xiamen, Fujian province, to discuss challenges to cross-border online retail.

China is the world's largest online retail market, with a total revenue expected to reach 3.1 trillion yuan ($502.4 billion) in 2014, according to data from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

Many of 332 million online shoppers, among the total Chinese population, have higher income, better computer knowledge and more fashion-sensitive.

"E-commerce in China is entering a golden era," said Cai Hua, co-founder of the Global Cross-border E-commerce Association who has 12 years of experience managing three foreign e-commerce platforms.

Gold rush

Cai's optimism was shared by Nigel Sims, director at a British company Union Jack Marketing, which provides logistics and support for e-commerce businesses in the United Kingdom.

"I'm establishing an online platform in China next year, because China is a very exciting market," Sims told Xinhua, adding that he plans to sell brands Chinese people are not quite familiar with.

"Mostly smaller and specialized brands," he said. "Not everyone can afford a French handbag or an Italian suit."

Sims's company is just a drop in the ocean of foreign businesses looking to access the Chinese market through e-commerce, said Stephen Phillips, chief executive of the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC).

UK Trade and Investment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the e-commerce giant Alibaba during British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to China last year to help raise the profile of British companies among Alibaba's huge user base.

Last month, fashion retailers Top Shop and Miss Selfridge announced partnerships with Shangpin.com in hopes of reaching Chinese customers. So far, over 20 British brands have established flagship stores on China's major business-to-customer platforms.

At the same time, a growing number of foreign online retailers, such as Mothercare and Wiggle, are now running Chinese language websites.

Along with foreign big names "looking east," Chinese e-commerce companies have already started targeting overseas customers.

E-commerce insiders seek to break barriers

E-commerce insiders seek to break barriers

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