China's cross-border e-commerce gains momentum with more pilot zones to be set up

Updated: October 27, 2022 Source: Belt and Road Portal
fontLarger fontSmaller

Two workers walk inside a warehouse of imported medicine for cross-border e-commerce in Tianzhu comprehensive bonded zone in Shunyi District, Beijing, capital of China, on March 12, 2021. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

As a new booster for China's foreign trade development, cross-border e-commerce is expected to gain stronger growth momentum with more integrated pilot zones to be set up and more preferential polices to be issued, according to recent announcements by relevant departments, reported Economic Information Daily.

Experts believe that continuously cultivating integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce will boost high-quality development of China's foreign trade through new business sectors such as cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehouses, injecting innovative vitality to the country's foreign trade development.

-- More pilot zones under planning

Decisions have been made at a recently-held executive meeting of the State Council that new forms of foreign trade will be promoted, with a number of new integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce to be established without delay and more efforts to be made on the construction of overseas warehouses.

Following the decisions, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) later issued a circular on stabilizing foreign trade, which indicted that China will establish a number of new integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce to stimulate innovation vitality.

Since China established the first integrated pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce in 2015, the State Council has approved five more batches of pilot zones, all of which achieved good results, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen told a press conference in late September.

For instance, the city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province, where China's first cross-border e-commerce integrated pilot zone was established, has cultivated 49,000 e-commerce sellers over the past seven years, with more than 2,000 trademarks registered overseas, 23 enterprises each boasting a value of 100 million U.S. dollars, and foreign trade volume through cross-border e-commerce topping 100 billion yuan (about 13.93 billion U.S. dollars), according to Wang.

The expansion and upgrading of integrated pilot zones should contribute to finding new economic growth points for China's cross-border e-commerce development, fostering new engines for development through strengthening regional cooperation, improving the establishment of an open economic system that features mutual benefit, diversity, balance, safety and efficiency, as well as pursuing high-level opening-up, said Hong Yong, associate researcher at the Institute of E-commerce Research of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

The new batch of integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce should pay specific attentions to the industrial development demand of various cities, making sure to settle in locations where the development of cross-border e-commerce holds good foundation or promising potential, said Li Mingtao, an analyst with China International Electronic Commerce Center, noting that the needs for integrated development of cross-border e-commerce with local advantageous industries and trade forms should also be taken into consideration.

-- Preferential policies boost industrial upgrade

As more integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce are under planning, preferential policies are issued to support the development of the existing ones to create friendly conditions for industrial development.

Measures related to the construction of integrated pilot zones are specified in the plan for the development of e-commerce during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), which include improving the policy system, optimizing the development environment, innovating industrial public services, as well as exploring the whole-process innovation of cross-border e-commerce transactions.

The MOC, together with relevant departments, proposed eight policy measures, which should be unveiled soon, to support the development of overseas warehouses, according to Wang. The policies include promoting the nation-wide network of information exchange, supporting overseas warehouses to optimize their market layout, improving the multi-functional service platforms and so on, Wang introduced.

On the local level, integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce have also engaged themselves in active efforts to achieve better development. For example, the pilot zone in Hangzhou is accelerating the formulation of new cross-border e-commerce policies, including the optimization of financial services and providing financing support to qualified enterprises.

At the pilot zone in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, the customs department is strengthening digital empowerment by forging a public service platform that combines information, financing and logistics services to facilitate cross-border trade.

Driven by the efforts of deepening reform and expanding opening-up, the cross-border e-commerce integrated pilot zones in China will serve to build a complete industrial and ecological chain, gradually form a set of management systems and rules that are applicable to the global development of cross-border e-commerce, providing replicable and scalable experience for the development of the industry, according to Hong.

Editor: Gao Jingyan