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Bloc to strengthen e-commerce to electrify growth

Zhong Nan/He Wei/Ren XiaoJin
Updated: Sep 4,2017 7:15 AM     China Daily

BRICS countries will deploy more resources and manpower to build a comprehensive e-commerce trading platform and intensify trade in services to stimulate business diversification and complementarity, a senior commerce official said on Sept 3.

Vice-Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said the five BRICS members-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-have massive potential in e-commerce cooperation.

“Deepening technological progress and economic globalization presents to all countries unprecedented opportunities and an urgent necessity to enhance economic and technological cooperation,” Wang said at a news conference during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen.

E-commerce is set to become a major factor connecting residents of the BRICS countries, according to research by Alibaba Group. Gross merchandise volume generated via online shopping portals is expected to surge by 340 percent from 2016 to reach $3 trillion in the five countries by 2022, it said.

The number of online shoppers is projected to nearly double from 720 million last year to 1.35 billion in 2022. That means an expanded share of total online shoppers from 47.2 percent to 61 percent, according to the Alibaba report.

Chinese consumers are increasingly drawn to Russian candies and cookies, Indian handicrafts and spices, Brazilian pine nuts and bee propolis health supplements, and grapefruit and wine from South Africa, data from Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation show. Meanwhile, customers in the four countries are most attracted to Chinese apparel, smartphones and accessories, as well as consumer electronics.

“BRICS countries will also work on protecting intellectual property rights, endorsing the outlines for investment facilitation and producing a framework on strengthening the economic and technical ties among them,” Wang said.

“China is already in the driver’s seat in using digital cross-border mechanisms to facilitate trade, and is poised to promote such best practices among BRICS countries,” said Diane Wang, chief executive officer of DHgate.com, a major business-to-business portal in China.

The trade volume between China and other BRICS countries grew by 26 percent year-on-year to $167.07 billion in the first seven months of this year, while the nation invested $870 million in those countries’ nonfinancial sectors, according to the General Administration of Customs and the Ministry of Commerce.

“In the context of globalization, Chinese and other partner countries from the developing world are all confronted with similar challenges. Developing e-commerce, the service trade and information and people-to-people exchange activities are practical readjustments in pursuit of new growth points,” said Zhang Jianping, a researcher at the Chinese international trade academy.

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