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October 15, 2009

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China's footprint in regional online B2C market to widen

CHINA'S stake in the Asia Pacific's online shopping market will more than double between last year and 2011 while Japan and South Korea are likely to see their shares drop, a United States-based research firm said yesterday.

Chinese consumers are now used to buying books, videos and audio products, cosmetics, IT gadgets and air tickets online, analysts said.

China's online B2C (business-to-commerce) market revenue will reach US$24.1 billion in 2011 for 14.2 percent share of the total revenue in the Asia Pacific. In 2008, China's US$11.1 billion market only took up 6.5 percent of the region's total revenue, according to research firm eMarketer.

China and India will see their market shares continue to grow while those of Japan and South Korea are set to decline, eMarketer added.

Online shoppers are increasingly making their presence felt in the domestic market and they will continue to choose online shopping to make their purchases, said Li Juan, Visa China's product director for new business.

Websites like Alibaba's and have seen their business grow rapidly in China, which has the world's No. 1 Internet population of more than 300 million users. But China's Internet penetration rate totaled 22.4 percent, just half of the Asia Pacific level, leading market observers to conclude that there is great potential to develop e-commerce further in the country.

China will surpass South Korea to become the region's No. 3 online shopping market around 2010, behind Japan and Australia, Li added.

The ease of payment, high speed of transactions, products and improved customer services will continue to boost e-commerce in China, according to Visa. It has launched a service called "Visa Authorized" for consumers to shop online, which offers a high security level and flexible payment methods.



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