The growth of cross-border e-commerce has become an increasingly important aspect of China’s foreign trade and economic growth, particularly as the country recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend is due in large part to the rise of Chinese vendors who are selling their products globally through cross-border e-commerce platforms.
Cross-border e-commerce has emerged as a new form of foreign trade, helping to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on foreign trade and encouraging traditional foreign trade enterprises to create new brands. Recent data from US tech giant Amazon showed that Chinese sellers have sold billions of dollars worth of products to global consumers through its 18 overseas marketplaces in 2022. The number of Chinese sellers using Amazon’s logistics services increased by more than 20 percent year-on-year, while the number of Chinese brand owners on Amazon surged nearly three times in the past three years, with their turnover posting double-digit growth last year.
Data from the General Administration of Customs also revealed that the import and export scale of China’s cross-border e-commerce segment reached 2.11 trillion yuan ($306.7 billion) in 2022, up 9.8 percent, with e-commerce exports alone reaching 1.55 trillion yuan, up nearly 12 percent. In November, the country approved the establishment of comprehensive pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce in another 33 cities and regions. As its latest bid to boost foreign trade growth, this was the seventh batch of such pilot areas, which lifted their countrywide tally to 165.
Alibaba.com, a business-to-business platform that helps facilitate foreign trade, also reported that household solar energy panels, electric blankets, laser-cutting machines, and FIFA World Cup-related goods were among the most popular categories of China-made products with overseas consumers. The platform also noted a triple-digit growth in sales of China-made new energy-related goods for three consecutive years. Chinese-made electric bicycles, camping products, beekeeping equipment, and wall-mounted charging piles were also increasingly favored by overseas buyers.
According to Zhang Kuo, president of Alibaba.com, the popularity of China-made goods highlights the crucial role China has played in ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains. Other e-commerce platforms such as Pinduoduo Inc are also investing heavily in boosting their global reach. With overseas consumers increasingly showing trust and optimism towards Chinese brands, cross-border e-commerce platforms have become an efficient and convenient way for traditional manufacturing enterprises to expand their overseas footprint, particularly for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
In conclusion, cross-border e-commerce has become a vital pathway to stabilize China’s foreign trade and economic growth, particularly during these challenging times. The increasing number of Chinese vendors using these platforms, coupled with the growth of Chinese brand owners on e-commerce platforms, has helped to create new opportunities for traditional manufacturing enterprises, particularly for those that are micro, small, and medium-sized. With the government’s continued support for cross-border e-commerce initiatives, it is expected that this trend will continue to grow and play an increasingly important role in China’s foreign trade in the years to come.