December 28, 2016, 1:30 PM

B2B e-commerce bolsters China’s exports

With the United States the largest target, cross-border e-commerce accounted for 3.5% of China’s exports in 2015, up from 1.3% in 2014.

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Business-to-business e-commerce is playing an increasingly important role in China’s export trade, a report released last week says.

Sports equipment, outdoor products and jewelry sold to businesses in North America and Europe accounted for much of the volume and rate of growth of China’s exports via e-commerce in 2015. And though international e-commerce sales still accounted for a small share of China’s total exports, that share more than doubled from 2013 to 2015—from 1.3% to 3.5%—the report says.

“B2B exports in China’s cross-border e-commerce sector have been growing rapidly and consistently,” the report says, adding: “Consequently it plays a significant role in China’s import and export trade.” The report, “2016 China Cross-Border E-Commerce (Export B2B) Report,” was produced by Tsinghua University, the China Central University of Finance and Economics, and DHgate.com, an online trading portal for purchasing goods from China-based suppliers.

The report covers B2B e-commerce volumes and growth rates by provincial level regions of China, by international markets and by product categories. It identifies China’s top 20 export markets—led by the United States, Russia, Brazil, Spain and the United Kingdom—and its top 20 export markets by growth rates—led by Latvia, Chile, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Slovenia.

It also looks into developments driving growth across each of four regions—Europe & North America, Oceana (Australia and New Zealand), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and Latin America.

In China’s largest trading area of Europe & North America, it notes that the United States accounted for the largest annual growth rate in China’s B2B e-commerce exports in 2015, at 66.0%, followed by Canada, 57.7%, Spain, 48.7%, Germany, 41.5%, and France, 37.4%. Among product categories, the top five in 2015 across Europe & North America by combined volume and growth rate were consumer electronics, mobile phones and accessories, sports and outdoor products, health and beauty, and household and gardening products.

The report also examines growth prospects for digital commerce across China’s provincial regions. It notes, for example, that the top five provinces for producing B2B e-commerce exports—Guangdong, Zhejiang, Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu—are well-positioned for continued growth in international e-commerce with relatively high access to such things as express delivery services and workers trained in e-commerce operations.

The report notes China’s total cross-border e-commerce trade, including exports and imports, grew 28.6% in 2015, to 5.4 trillion yuan (US$776.3 billion) from 4.2 trillion yuan (US$603.1 billion) in 2014. Nearly 90% of the 2015 volume was in B2B transactions, the remainder in business-to-consumer transactions. The report doesn’t provide volume figures for China’s total export trade, but according to Statista.com, China’s total export volume fell by 2.9% to $2.270 trillion in 2015 from $2.342 trillion in 2014.

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