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Trade - Editor, 20 July 2009

China Clicks onto Online Shopping



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China has not escaped the global financial crisis which has had an impact on its export market. To counteract this negative effect, China's manufacturers, retailers and other suppliers have turned their attention to the domestic market to make up losses, with some measure of success. Recent reports, however, indicate that a growing number of China's internet users are discovering the joys, and endless variety, of online shopping. Data released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) revealed that the number of China’s online shoppers reached 87.88 million by the end of June 2009, reflecting an increased of 18.9 percent for January to June, as measured against the same period last year.

CNNIC also revealed that at the end of June 2009, China had 338 million internet users. This is more than any other country, and in fact more than the entire population of the United States which was estimated at 303.8 million in July 2008. Even so, in this densely populated part of the world, it is estimated that only one in four of china's population are internet users, showing enormous potential for further growth.

China not only has the most internet users, but at close to 13 million, the country also leads the world in the number of registered websites using it domain of ".cn". The majority of users have broadband, and a growing number are accessing the worldwide web through mobile phones. Moreover, service providers are working at extending broadband access to more remote areas of this vast country.

Online shoppers reportedly account for around 25 percent of total internet users in China. The figure in the United States, Europe and South Korea is closer to 66 percent. The report noted that approximately 195 million internet users had been the target of computer viruses in the period January to June 2009, and this may very well have impacted on internet users who doubt the security of making online purchases. It would appear that security fears are not unfounded, as it has been reported that more than 110 million internet users had their user names, passwords, account numbers or identities stolen. Nevertheless, as online vendors become more adept at securing their sites and customer payment methods, it is likely that more Chinese consumers will join the global network of online shoppers.

Trade

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