Chinese cross-border e-commerce purchases to skyrocket in 2016

More than 15 percent of Chinese will purchase e-commerce goods from abroad this year, according to a recent eMarketer report. These 181.2 million e-commerce customers will represent a 41.6 percent increase over 2015, when 128 million Chinese engaged in cross-border online purchases.

Companies such as Alibaba, which has a significant stake in the regional online economy, are celebrating this transnational trend, however they also reflect a broader shift in the Chinese economy towards e-commerce. China’s overall e-commerce activity increased by more than 70 percent, or 30 percent more than its cross-border equivalent, according to Alilzila, the marketing arm of Alibaba.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been vocal about this disparity, and spoke on the matter in St. Petersburg earlier this month. He argued that regulations and protectionist trade policies are killing small businesses.

EMarketer projects that, in 2016, China’s digital shoppers will spend an average of US$473.26 per person on foreign goods, up from $446.33 last year. By 2020, the online research company anticipates that half of China’s digital shoppers – somewhere in the region of 700 million people – will be buying foreign products online, with total sales reaching an estimated $157.7 billion.

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