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China Daily:(赵永升)With hopes pinned on digital economy, ASEAN finds right partner for e-commerce boom

发布时间: 2023年01月13日 编辑: 艺萌

With hopes pinned on digital economy, ASEAN finds right partner for e-commerce boom

(来源:China Daily 2022-12-30)

Cross-border e-commerce has emerged as a new engine boosting trade and investment between China and Southeast Asian countries against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.

"Continuous cooperation with China, especially on e-commerce, has played a positive role in Southeast Asia's faster pace of recovery from the pandemic," said Zhao Yongsheng, a professor at the Institute of Regional and International Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

According to a recent report issued by the Boao Forum for Asia Academy, Asia-Pacific is the region with the strongest cross-border e-commerce in the world, accounting for more than 50 percent of the global market size, with China and ASEAN playing indispensable roles.

Titled "Learn from China-ASEAN Cross-border e-Commerce Cooperation to Build 'Belt and Road'", the report said China's cross-border e-commerce exports to ASEAN have increased by 98.5 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cross-border e-commerce has bucked the trend and maintained rapid growth in China.

The scale of the sector has increased almost tenfold in five years. According to data released by the General Administration of Customs, China's cross-border e-commerce market volume reached 1.92 trillion yuan ($283.97 billion) last year, year-on-year growth of 18.6 percent.

Coupled with the rapid rise of the middle-income class in ASEAN countries, there is a huge demand for Chinese cross-border e-commerce exports in China's burgeoning digital economy, Zhao said.

Southeast Asia is China's third-largest export destination for cross-border e-commerce. A report from Facebook and Bain & Company predicted that the number of online shoppers in Southeast Asia will reach 380 million by 2026.

By 2025, ASEAN's digital economy is expected to increase from 1.3 percent of GDP in 2015 to 8.5 percent, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying.

China is leading in the development of digital infrastructure and is an important partner of ASEAN to promote the digital economy in the region, Lim said.

China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is at the forefront of China's opening-up to ASEAN due to its geographical advantage, and the region has seen its cross-border e-commerce sector boom in recent years on the back of strong trade performance with ASEAN countries.

In 2021, the import and export volume of cross-border e-commerce in the free trade zone in Guangxi exceeded 10.15 billion yuan, an increase of 259 percent, according to official statistics.

More than 100 cross-border e-commerce companies, including Alibaba and Ant Group, have established offices in the zone.

Nanning and the border city of Chongzuo in Guangxi have also been approved as state-level cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones to further boost the sector's development in the region.

With regard to cooperation with China on e-commerce, ASEAN countries have effectively shortened the length of the product chain from production to sales, greatly reduced the cost of production, transportation and consumption, and greatly enriched the variety of products produced for local consumers, Zhao said.

The thriving cross-border e-commerce sector is also attracting more talent from ASEAN countries.

Lazada, a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, has built a cross-border e-commerce and innovation service center in Nanning to create service systems for live streamer incubation, cross-border livestreaming sales, and foreign language courses for cross-border e-commerce practitioners.

Zhao also highlighted the necessity for more sustainable cooperation between China and ASEAN nations in cross-border e-commerce in the post-COVID-19 era.

Although e-commerce cooperation has largely been boosted by the pandemic, the two sides should explore more possibilities in cooperation such as shifting from a solely online business mode to a combination of both online and offline, Zhao said.

Setting up physical shops and even production plants in ASEAN countries can be optional for Chinese e-commerce companies, he said.









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