How China can become a major importer
Global Times


(Photo: Global Times)

The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) came to an end on Saturday in Shanghai, during which deals for intended one-year purchases of goods and services worth a total of $57.83 billion were reached. Then, the arrival of "Singles' Day" shopping festival on November 11 showed the world the deepening consumerist streak for foreign products among the Chinese people. Over 40 percent of Alibaba's Singles' Day shoppers purchased international brands. However, to actively play the role of a "major importer" in the future is not simply "buy and buy," there are other factors to be considered.

Young Chinese, the generation growing up under the influence of the internet, are gradually becoming the main consumer group. It's inevitable future import trade will be closely connected to the internet. Hence the first thing to be taken into account is the establishment of a reasonable and efficient global procurement mode. A safe and efficient logistics network is of crucial significance for China to act as a global "major importer".

In recent years, in order to make sure that fresh overseas products can reach Chinese consumers in time, Chinese logistics companies have been making continuous efforts under "intelligent logistics". By cooperating with EMS and foreign postal corporations, and by virtue of Big Data analysis, the cold-chain capability of Chinese logistics companies can make it possible to deliver goods to consumers in one day. 

In the meantime, through the construction of cold-chain logistics bases in 10 metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as overseas, the traditional logistics mode has been changed and "global delivery" has become more realizable. While promoting this mode, it should also be well noted that to build a long-lasting logistics industry, the construction of overseas logistics outlets shall be in accordance with local laws and labor employment system.

CIIE not only provides domestic consumers with an opportunity to choose quality products from all across the world, but also offers Chinese enterprises a platform to choose advanced industrial products globally. There is no doubt that with the import expo and the stimulus package of realizing $200 billion imports in five years proposed by Alibaba, cross-border e-commerce will surely usher in new opportunities of development, which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on China's domestic products. Therefore domestic goods must figure out appropriate approaches to cope with the situation as soon as possible. In addition to transformation and upgrading, establishing their own characteristics and positioning to create diversified competition is also a critical issue for domestic goods.

While making efforts to boost import, we should never ignore the export of domestic products. Support to domestic products in some specific fields should be strengthened, and corresponding support should be offered to innovation, transformation and brand building. Meanwhile, quality domestic products should be continuously encouraged to go international, rather than stick to the domestic market and compete with global products in a price war. 

To enter the vast overseas market, domestic small- and medium-sized enterprises can take advantage of the platform built by cross-border e-commerce companies at home and abroad to deliver domestic products to foreign countries.

Moreover, with a large amount of imported goods flooding the market, quality disputes and other issues may arise. A way to protect consumers' rights and interests needs to be figured out. The current cross-border e-commerce market is still in a mess and disorderly. Only by setting the access threshold to cross-border retail e-commerce platform enterprises, establishing a credit rating mechanism, dynamically adjusting the threshold according to regulatory compliance and consumer evaluation, and building a whitelist and a blacklist of cross-border e-commerce and platform companies, can China protect the interests of domestic consumers while playing the role of a major importer on the world stage.