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Huge market for online stores in China
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16:18, June 08, 2009

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More people are choosing to open online stores in China, and competition is becoming increasingly fierce. Compared with other nations, China's online shopping market has not yet been fully developed.

In 2008, China's leading e-commerce website Taobao.com alone directly created 570,000 jobs, equal to the total number of new jobs created in Shanghai in the whole year.

Small investment and low risk are the major reasons why many people choose to open online stores. "Affected by the financial crisis, opening online shops has become a transitional choice for many people waiting for work. Of course, this has also increased the number of online stores and therefore the competition," said Zhang Zhengfeng, associate professor of the School of Public Administration at China's Renmin University.

In China, online shopping accounts for just 1 to 2 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods. The ratio is around 10 percent in South Korea and about 4 percent in the US.

Jing Linbo, a researcher with the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said there is a huge potential for domestic online shopping to grow, with second- and third-tier cities in particular set to record even faster growth. Consumers are relatively young, with those aged between 16 and 32 accounting for 83 percent. The consumption demand of this group is vigorous.

China's Internet giants, such as Baidu, QQ.com and Alibaba, have successively expanded into the online retail sector. For consumers, this means there is a wider selection of online products to choose from and possibilities have arisen for more preferential prices. Jing said that restricted by various factors, there is still a huge room to be released for online consumers to satisfy their needs. The industry should continue to improve logistics, payment, after-sales services and other links.

At the same time, online service merchants must treat netizens as the core of their service, understand their consumption psychology and inclination, and provide more consumer-oriented services based on more detailed market segmentation.

By People's Daily Online


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