Online trading is proving to be an ever expanding phenomenon all over the world. In terms of size and growth rates, the US had always been the main player, but with continuing developments in Chinese trade and the dominance of major online corporations, China is now the world’s largest and strongest e-commerce market. The Chinese market is expected to double the United States e-commerce sales by 2018. Most interestingly, it is not just Chinese brands or SMEs who are reaping the benefits of domestic and international e-commerce; people from small towns and villages are producing niche products to sell on a global scale.
The Telegraph has reported this week how the ‘once-backward’ village of Dingou in China has become a ‘Taobao village’ through its growing e-commerce business community. People are swapping their farming materials for sewing machines to make clothes of all shapes and sizes. In particular, the villagers have profited from making and selling clothes designed for party and performance purposes, developing a range of products to sell through consumer-to-consumer website Taobao, ran by China’s Amazon, Alibaba.
Farming communities have been transformed over the past five years; these ‘Taobao villages’ offer people thousands of lucrative business opportunities, moving them further away from the Communist routes and a life of poverty and hardship. The Telegraph have also reported how over 90% of the villagers in Dingou, a rural backwater in eastern Shandong province, now work in e-commerce. One of the longest standing online traders drives an Audi, and the report focuses in on three clothing entrepreneurs who have earned a collective £350,000 salary.
November 11 in China is known as ‘Singles Day’, which last year became the biggest online shopping day in history, significantly outshining the almost infamous Black Friday online sales which bring the western world to a state of hysteria. In 2015, Singles Day generated 91.2billion yuan, which equates to $14.3billion, or £9.4billion. Singles Day was created in the 1990s as an anti-Valentine’s day, and has since become China and now the world’s most lucrative shopping day. Needles to say, the 1,136 villagers of Dingou are ready for this major online event this coming Friday; the figures are expected to soar once more, overtaking last year by a long shot, bringing in major profit for the ‘Taobao village’, and Alibaba’s owner, Jack Ma.
With the Chinese entrepreneurship seen in the likes of the villagers of Dingou, it’s no surprise that China has one of the largest and strongest international e-commerce markets. As Paypal’s recent e-commerce report illustrates, compared to its European counterparts UK and Germany, China’s B2C market size and growth has rocketed from 2014. The use of mobile technologies and social media plays a major role in China’s e-commerce growth – 75% of Chinese consumers shop on their mobile, compared to say 25% of European consumers.
China’s 35% increase in e-commerce sales since 2013 shows that the cheap, fast and easily obtained products are here to stay; it is likely that there will be a boom in tech villages such as Dingou as people move forward into the future and benefit from the boom of international online trade.