Even if we tend to associate e-commerce to Amazon, the Rising Sun is dominant due to numbers, capability of innovation and use!
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When we think to e-commerce, the Top in Mind is Amazon for many of us. The US electronic retailer giant has completely revolutionized shopping habits, through innovation of our shopping experience every day.
However, the true leadership in the e-commerce world belongs to China, and not just because of more than one and a half billion people who live there. More than 40% of global e-commerce transactions are made in China, compared to around 1% ten years ago. Chinese giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and JD dominate a rapidly growing ecosystem. Chinese consumers are mobile experts, so that even older generations feel comfortable with e-commerce. Jack Ma, founder and executive president of Alibaba, recently said that nobody can stop globalization, no one can stop the trade. In 2016, the size of the e-commerce sales market in China was $ 78.5 billion, a figure that is expected to exceed $ 140 billion by 2021. The phenomenon depends on some factors.
The high number of Chinese who study and work abroad. There are more and more Chinese people studying or working abroad, acquiring experiences of international brands and products. When they return come back, they rely on e-commerce to buy international products not yet available in the domestic market.
Attention to product safety. Chinese consumers turn to e-commerce to access trusted international brands, especially for some key products such as childhood, health, beauty and organic food. Consumers can use Chinese e-commerce platforms like Alibaba, or they can rely on foreign unofficial sellers, known as Daigou, agents based in foreign markets, who buy overseas and then use local platforms like WeChat and Taobao to reach Chinese consumers.
Zones with a simplified system. Pilot zones have been created in many areas of China, with simplified regulations for examination and approval, customs clearance and simpler information sharing.
Influencers. When it comes to e-commerce, national or international, Chinese consumers turn to digital influencers to learn about products and trends. Digital influencers produce content ranging from articles on their official WeChat accounts (the Chinese version of Facebook) to live streaming of social media, which are increasing market growth bringing it this year to $ 4.4 billion in direct revenue and a good 456 million viewers.
Development of rural areas. Moreover, the future of e-commerce in China will increasingly be produced in rural regions, where there is still a huge space for growth. For example, JD announced plans to build 185 drone airports in southwest China to be used for deliveries. These rural consumers have skipped the PC era and are using their mobile phones directly to access the Internet and shop online.
While in the Western world we are witnessing with interest and amazement to phenomena of innovation in e-commerce generated by Amazon, the future has already arrived in China! Alibaba and JD are rapidly opening retail stores across the country, called Hema and 7Fresh respectively, to offer a wide range of digitally connected experiential purchases. For example, customers can use their phone to scan the barcode of any item in the store and know the details (source, nutritional information and price). Delivery is available in both kinds of stores in just 30 minutes after consumers make their purchases.
Advances in e-commerce not only bring benefits to Chinese consumers, but also help infrastructure development, increased product safety and global trade. E-commerce in China is much more than just a consumer tool. It is an important driver of economic and social development that is helping to transform the whole country.
It has nothing to do with age or language: it is only a cultural attitude, which does not yet find space in Italy!