China’s $2T E-Commerce Market

A new government report said China’s e-commerce markets racked up 13 trillion yuan ($2 trillion) in transactions in 2014, up 25 percent from 2013, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The numbers from China’s Ministry of Commerce include online B2B transactions along with sales from online retailers and e-commerce platforms like JD and Tmall. Total Chinese retail sales totaled 26.2 trillion yuan ($4.2 trillion) in 2014, up 12 percent for the year, the ministry said.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and No. 2 player dominate the market, but and other foreign rivals are mounting a charge to catch up. For example, Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand partnered with Japanese trading company C. Itoh last November to branch out into China, with plans to concentrate their offerings on imported Japanese goods, which are popular among China’s expanding middle class.

But while those companies see the digital marketplace growing as smartphones spread in China, and are ramping up investment in developing online shopping apps, some traditional foreign retailers with a brick-and-mortar foothold in China are having a hard time moving online there. Wal-Mart, which has more than 400 stores in China, has encountered internal resistance from employees who think of traditional retailing as preferable to online. “Our priority is retail stores before we consider e-commerce,” one Wal-Mart China executive said. “We’re not [becoming] an e-commerce business simply to sell more goods.”

According to a separate report from social marketing agency We Are Social, China now has 642 million active Internet users, representing 47 percent of the country’s population, as well as 565 million mobile Internet users, or 41 percent of the population, Tech in Asia reported.

Despite the slowing Chinese economy, 37 percent of all Chinese adults said they bought something online using a PC within the previous month, while 27 percent of adults said they bought something using a mobile phone.

And a PwC report found that one-seventh of the population shops online every day and 60 percent every week, compared to the global average of 21 percent weekly.