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Cross-border e-commerce drives foreign trade in NE China

Updated: June 20, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Local residents shop at the Hunchun Northeast Asia International Shopping Mall in Hunchun, northeast China's Jilin Province in April, 2022. (Xinhua)

CHANGCHUN, June 19 (Xinhua) -- For Jin Minghe, a businessman in northeast China's Jilin Province, early summer is one of the busiest times for his company as an online shopping festival takes place every year on June 18.

Jin's company is located in the Hunchun Northeast Asia Cross-border E-commerce Industrial Park. As the shopping festival drew near, young livestreamers employed by Jin were fully occupied, spending most of the day in a studio marketing the company's products to foreign consumers.

"We have benefited from a full range of support policies since we entered the park and opened the international livestreaming e-commerce platform last year," said Jin. "Our goods are very popular with foreign consumers."

The company reported revenue of over 10 million yuan (about 1.40 million U.S. dollars) during last year's "Double Eleven" shopping festival, which falls on Nov. 11, according to Jin.

Hunchun, a small city with about 220,000 residents, is located at China's border with Russia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. However, it used to be a backwater in terms of foreign trade due to underdeveloped trading channels.

In 2017, the city started its exploration in the cross-border e-commerce sector by establishing a dedicated service platform. In the following years, a comprehensive bonded zone was opened and an integrated pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce was established, gradually forming an industry cluster.

Now, Hunchun is one of the pacesetters for opening up in Jilin. The import and export value of cross-border e-commerce of the city had increased from 40 million yuan in 2018 to 2.15 billion yuan in 2021, with trade partners covering 72 countries and regions.

It also provides entrepreneurs from home and abroad with a slew of favorable measures including rent relief, start-up guidance and financial loans.

The Hunchun Northeast Asia Cross-border E-commerce Industrial Park, opened in 2022, has become a new driving force for promoting foreign trade. Consisting of a commodity sales exhibition zone, a livestreaming base and other facilities, it has attracted 119 enterprises to settle there.

In 2022, the total trade value of these companies exceeded 6 billion yuan, with cross-border e-commerce business contributing 3.52 billion yuan.

Drawn by this development momentum, many locally-born entrepreneurs have come back to seek opportunities in Hunchun.

Jiang Yiqing is one of them. Having been engaged in e-commerce for over two decades in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, which is reputed as the e-commerce capital of China, he saw the prospects in his hometown and set up a company branch there.

"About 1,000 deals are made during each livestreaming session, with a sales revenue of more than 10,000 yuan," said Jiang, adding that they will expand their business to sell honey, milk powder and candies from Russia to domestic consumers.

In the commodity sales exhibition zone of the park, varieties of goods including food, daily chemical products and maternal and childcare products from the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Russia, among others, are displayed for customers to choose.

"It delights us that we can buy imported goods with good prices so close to home," said Wang Li, a Hunchun resident.

According to a report recently released by China's General Administration of Customs (GAC), the value of China's cross-border e-commerce imports and exports exceeded 2 trillion yuan for the first time in 2022, reaching 2.1 trillion yuan.

A GAC survey has shown that more than 70 percent of enterprises expect stable or growing cross-border e-commerce in 2023, according to Lyu Daliang, an official with the GAC.

Jilin, which saw its cross-border e-commerce trade value increase by 68.1 percent in 2022, has made further efforts in developing the sector. In May, the province released an implementation plan of building the China (Yanji) Comprehensive Pilot Zone for Cross-border E-commerce, aiming to turn the city of Yanji into an important e-commerce hub in Northeast Asia.

"We will focus on the stability and quality of foreign trade, making it an engine and booster of economic growth," said Chi Chuang, deputy director of the Jilin provincial department of commerce. 

Editor: Su Dan