BUSINESS E-commerce exporters bullish despite global trade turbulence


E-commerce exporters bullish despite global trade turbulence

Global Times

08:14, December 25, 2019


A group picture of workers at a brick-and-mortar store AliExpress opened in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo: Global Times)

China's business-to-customer e-commerce exports reported robust growth in 2019 despite turbulence in China-US trade relations, executives from Alibaba's B2C online global marketplace AliExpress said. 

"Although the global trade environment is not very friendly to traders right now, business is brisk on AliExpress in 2019. This year saw the fastest sales growth in the past two to three years," said Wang Mingqiang, general manager of AliExpress. 

Many Chinese companies are selling a range of products, from Christmas trees to furniture and handbags, to more than 200 countries and regions via AliExpress.

Exports to the US also saw healthy growth on the website, which showed the appeal of Chinese goods to US customers at a time when China's overall trade with the US was hit by prolonged trade tensions that saw the two countries increase tariffs on goods imported from one another.

In US dollar terms, China's trade with the US slipped 15.1 percent on a yearly basis in the first 11 months in 2019, according to customs data. 

According to Wang, exports to the US reported a "relatively strong" growth trend on AliExpress in 2019. The US was among the top 10 countries on AliExpress in terms of gross merchandise volume, with Russia standing the first, data provided by AliExpress showed. China-made hair bundles with closure are particularly popular among US buyers. 

The competitiveness of China-made products is one reason for the continued growth, executives from AliExpress said.  

"The US is still a relatively big market for Chinese goods because US consumers have inelastic demand for made-in-China products. They didn't stop buying Chinese products because of the trade war," Zhang Qi, overseas client and market operations director at AliExpress, told the Global Times. 

According to Zhang, Chinese products have a price advantage in most countries, and there has been great improvement in recent years in manufacturing capabilities and product quality.

Chen Mu, brand operation director of Eachine, which exports a variety of products like drones and toys on AliExpress to overseas markets including the US, said that the tariff changes didn't affect the company's US-bound business too much.

"We adjust selling prices for some products to reflect tariff changes. On the whole, we were influenced a bit by the exchange rate volatility," Chen told the Global Times. 

China's cross-border e-commerce transactions reached 134.7 billion yuan ($19.22 billion) in 2018, up by 50 percent on a yearly basis. Cross-border e-commerce exports rose 67 percent while imports rose 39.8 percent, customs data showed. 

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