E-commerce progress high on agenda
More measures are in the pipeline to boost development of e-commerce, which plays a vital role in driving growth of the real economy, promoting trade and boosting capital flows, officials and experts said.
Speaking during the China E-commerce Convention, a sub-forum at the ongoing 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce, emphasized the importance of fostering a deep integration between e-commerce platforms and the real economy.
Chen said further efforts are expected to give full play to the leading role of national e-commerce demonstration bases. Nurturing internationally competitive e-commerce industry clusters and leading enterprises will be emphasized, which help empower growth of the real economy.
"Our ministry will work to promote the launch of favorable policies that facilitate trade reform and innovative development, strengthen digital trade platform construction, and help foreign trade companies with their digital transformation and upgrade. It will also prioritize boosting consumption among all work," Chen said.
"Efforts will also be made to guide e-commerce platforms to deeply integrate with the real economy, encourage e-commerce enterprises to extend their presence to rural areas, enhance logistics efficiency, reduce logistics service costs and promote sales of rural specialty products.
"Meanwhile, the ministry will actively advance bilateral e-commerce cooperation with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative."
The Ministry of Commerce announced on Saturday 16 new national e-commerce demonstration bases, including the Huawei E-commerce Logistics Park in Hubei province and the Chongqing Road Logistics Base.
In 2022, China's digital economy surpassed 50 trillion yuan ($6.89 trillion) for the first time, accounting for 41.5 percent of the country's GDP. E-commerce constitutes the largest and most extensive component within the digital economy, the ministry said.
It added that in recent years, China's e-commerce sector has continuously innovated and grown in scale and quality, which supports the employment of nearly 70 million people. China has maintained its position as the world's largest online retail market for 10 consecutive years, and its role and significance in the overall global digital development landscape have become increasingly prominent.
Jiang Xiaojuan, president of the China Society of Industrial Economics, said that in the first half, the country's international e-commerce growth rate exceeded 16 percent.
"E-commerce, through digital technology, optimized international transactions and production processes, reduced transaction and production costs, enhanced supply and demand matching, and efficiently allocated various cross-border resources. It has played a crucial role in facilitating foreign trade and two-way flows of cross-border capital for China," Jiang said.
"E-commerce drives the substantial growth of the real economy, playing a crucial role in the overall development of China's industries," Jiang said.
With a diverse manufacturing sector and extensive industrial chains, China hosts a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises. Digital platforms help innovate their trade models, with online and offline segments complementing each other, she added.
Xu Ran, CEO of JD Group, said that as digital technology increasingly integrates into all aspects of economic and social development, digitalization has opened up a new, broader, deeper and more potential development prospect for businesses. The convergence of digital and real economies has become an important engine that drives stable growth and high-quality development.
Zhou Lichen, chairman of clothing brand Heilan Group, said that in the current context of a global economic slowdown and severe market saturation, problems such as the decoupling of production and sales, order delays and low production capacity have become key constraints on development in the traditional clothing sector. Digital transformation, no longer optional, is now imperative as it emerges as a new growth engine.
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