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Across China: Ancient city along Silk Road sees booming e-commerce

Updated: June 29, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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XI'AN, June 28 (Xinhua) -- In a brightly lit studio adorned with neatly arranged shoe racks, a young woman exudes a vibrant smile as she gazes into the camera, her voice resounding with enthusiasm and confidence.

"Greetings from Xi'an! Are you ready to find your perfect pair of shoes? I'm excited to help you discover it," Chokodza Ashlley Mercy Magwenzi passionately tells her viewers.

Magwenzi, a Zimbabwean student turned live-streamer based in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi'an, where the ancient Silk Road once began, is part of the digital commerce boom on the historic trade route.

Every day, Magwenzi clocks in five hours of live streaming, and her repertoire includes a range of footwear, from sneakers to sandals. For Magwenzi, it is a labor of love.

"I don't have a massive following on TikTok, but I do know how to communicate and engage with viewers to keep them watching," Magwenzi said. The majority of her customers are from the United Kingdom and, usually, she can manage to sell over 20 pairs of shoes every day.

The Chanba Ecological District, where Magwenzi works, was recognized as an innovative pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce in Xi'an in November 2020. With China's domestic live-streaming sales market becoming saturated, many like Magwenzi are now broadening their horizons to tap into the overseas markets, noted Yao Xin, a staffer from the commerce bureau of the district.

"Chinese manufactured goods are quality assured, and we have price and logistics advantages, which have greatly improved the online shopping experience," Yao said, adding that livestreaming has boosted the trade volume of cross-border e-commerce.

International logistic routes through the China-Europe freight train service have boosted the connectivity of Xi'an to the overseas market, while many local companies have also set up overseas warehouses which has improved efficiency. These factors contributed to the city's prospering cross-border e-commerce, Yao added.

In Xi'an, there are seven innovative pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce like Chanba. In 2022, the city had 1,816 cross-border e-commerce and related enterprises, with cross-border e-commerce transactions reaching 14.43 billion yuan (about 2 billion U.S. dollars), up 46.42 percent year on year, official data showed.

Editor: Gao Jingyan