E-commerce will probably replace real estate and automobiles as an economic driver in China over the coming years. With its government setting sights on stimulating domestic consumption via online retail business, there have been significant developments in internet infrastructure, logistics and customs regulations. These changes will be pivotal for China towards maintaining growth in its online retail market – now the world's largest – which also means that there will be opportunities for Thai entreoreneurs from various industries.
By virtue of these benefits, we at KResearch predict that China's online retail sales will reach CNY2.7 trillion in 2014, or USD440.9 billion, representing a surge of 43 percent YoY. This projected turnover would account for 4.2 percent of China's GDP, higher than the proportion in the US where e-commerce totals USD304.9 billion, at about 1.8 percent of its GDP.
Online merchandise popular with Chinese consumers includes apparel, shoes, bags, other consumer/household products, electronics and other gadgets, as well as mobile phones and computing devices. Other products with existing demand in the Chinese online retail market include sports equipment, food and beverages, baby/mother care products, beauty products and perfume. Given that many positive factors will likely boost Chinese shoppers' confidence, e.g., government initiatives to regulate its online retail industry, better payment security systems and faster merchandise delivery, many more of Chinese netizens are becoming more willing to seek expensive goods and imported products online than they would have before.
Thai entrepreneurs interested in capitalizing on these opportunities can access the market by themselves or look for appropriate local partners. Meanwhile, they should become fully apprised of such matters as legal details, partnering procedures, intellectual property legislation, merchandise payment systems and language used in business dealing.
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