An Analysis of China'a E-Commerce Industry

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An Analysis of China’s E-Commerce Industry


A little more than 10 years ago, China’s path to e-commerce leadership would have been difficult to foresee, even as the tech boom in the US and other markets saw the development of e-commerce as an important B2C and C2C channel.

In 2000, China had yet to develop any e-commerce applications, and had only 2.1 million total internet users. Payment systems and physical delivery mechanisms to facilitate the development of e-commerce transactions were well-developed in other markets, but were simply lacking in China.

Fast forward to the end of 2013: with Chinese internet users quickly approaching 600 million, China is on pace to pass the US and become the largest e-commerce market in the world.

China’s e-commerce industry

Online retailing in China, dubbed ‘e-tailing’, has doubled every year since 2003. By 2020 the size of China’s online retail market is predicted to reach up to US$650 billion, exceeding the combined value of online markets in the USA, UK, Japan, German and France. With over 590 million internet users, China boasts the world’s largest online population - more than the US and Japan combined – and still growing at almost 10 per cent per annum.

The boom in online retail is a key element of the government’s drive to re-balance China’s economy in a way that positions consumption to make a far more significant contribution to GDP growth. China’s new leadership team - Premier Li Keqiang in particular - is actively encouraging the expansion of so-called ‘digital consumption’ - xinxi xiaofei 信息消费.

In the first six months of 2013, e-commerce revenue in China reached almost RMB 5 trillion, a 45 per cent increase year on year. Payments through mobile dev...

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...oes not dominate the entire market. The Chinese market is so large that even an e-commerce giant like Alibaba is unable to capture the entire market. Here are some other players who are in the market as well:


E-commerce in China is complex, unlike any other country, and in a constant state of flux. The sheer size of the industry and the sheer number of Chinese consumers - which is still steadily growing as you read this report - make it extremely hard to navigate this complex industry and even harder to find a winning strategy. However, with careful research and acute business sense, one will be able to capitalise on the unique dynamics on this industry and make investments that will make a good return in the long run. I hope that this report has helped to give you some key insights into the industry and improve on your investment process.

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