China's cross-border e-commerce is becoming the latest driving engine for the country's foreign trade, which gained great momentum last year in a time of COVID-19 recessions.
As the only major economy worldwide to see growth in 2020, China's total foreign trade volume has increased by 1.9 percent to 32.16 trillion yuan last year, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Thursday.
In comparison, foreign trades on China's cross-border e-commerce saw a much higher growth proportionally.
Total volumes of cross border e-commerce trade reached 1.69 trillion yuan ($261.5 billion) in 2020, a 31.1 percent year-on-year growth, while e-commerce exports were up 40.1 percent.
On Alibaba.com, China's leading business-to-business (B2B) international e-commerce platform, the transaction volume increased by 101 percent year-on-year in dollar terms, with the number of orders doubled. The volume of transactions on Alibaba in over 100 countries and regions has doubled too.
Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Jinhua, Dongguan, and Ningbo are the top five Chinese cities in terms of export volumes last year on Alibaba.com. Sectors that saw over 100 percent of export growth in 2020 are machinery, home gardening, consumer electronics, cosmetics, and apparel, as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Due to the pandemic, cross-border e-commerce had rapidly developed as a new business form in 2020, said Li Kuiwen, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs.
"China customs has been actively adapting to and promoting the development of cross-border e-commerce, continuously innovating and optimizing the regulatory system, and supporting the orderly development of new business forms such as cross-border e-commerce," Li said.
China's speedy recovery from COVID-19 compared to many other countries and regions fundamentally contributed to the country's manufacturing sector's expansion since March.
In April, China's major e-commerce giant Alibaba introduced a series of measures to facilitate cross-border trade by providing digital infrastructures to sellers and buyers, helping small and medium-sized enterprises reach out to overseas buyers.
China has also improved measures for returning goods imported by cross-border e-commerce retailers. Meanwhile, innovative pilot projects on cross-border e-commerce's B2B exports have been launched.