WIC host: Its mind-blowing digital economy and achievements

By Wang Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, October 17, 2019
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The sixth World Internet Conference (WIC) is scheduled to be held on Oct. 20 to 22 in Wuzhen, part of Tongxiang city, located in the north of Zhejiang province. [Photo by Wang Yiming/China.org.cn]

The sixth World Internet Conference (WIC) is scheduled to be held Oct. 20-22 in Wuzhen, part of Tongxiang city located in the north of Zhejiang province. Since the waterside resort town was chosen as the permanent site for the WIC in 2014, the province has attracted increasing attention for its digital economy development. 

Zhu Chonglie, deputy director of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Zhejiang Provincial Committee, explained: "Since the first WIC, Zhejiang's digital economy development has seen strong momentum. Over the past five years, it has become a vital engine of economic growth."

"The added value of the core industry increased from 285.4 billion yuan (US$40.2 billion) in 2014 to 554.8 billion yuan (US$78.16 billion) in 2018, with an average annual growth rate of 18.1%."

According to data from the Economic and Information Technology Department of Zhejiang, the province's total digital economy value reached 2.33 trillion yuan (US$328.27 billion) in 2018, accounting for 41.54% of GDP, which is 6.74% higher than the national average. 

This is playing an important role in optimizing the industrial structure and realizing industrial digital transformation and upgrading in Zhejiang, with sectors such as e-commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data analytics rapidly expanding.

E-commerce industry soaring 

Ma Jiamin used to work in her husband's company, a supplier and OEM of silk fabrics in the Chongfu town of Tongxiang, where the silk industry has long been one of the local economic pillars. 

Tired of producing clothes for foreign brands like Burberry, Ma responded to the changes brought by the digital economy by opening a Taobao store online and started her own brand of MAS&JM in 2010.

The live streaming studio of MAS&JM, a Taobao cloth store based in Chongfu of Tongxiang, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Wang Yiming/China.org.cn]

She said: "We have abundant raw material resources and textile companies here, as well as the huge market of Yangtze River Delta. Why can't we draw on these advantages?"

From choosing raw materials, designing, manufacturing to directly selling online, her clothing store has managed to merge all the procedures into one without any dealers. Thus, quality and cost can be better controlled, making it a popular brand online.

In recent years, the live-streaming industry has enjoyed a boom and Alibaba's Taobao (which was also founded in this province) launched platforms for shop owners to broadcast live video, displaying their garments in real-time and answers questions from viewers, the potential customers.

Ma Jiamin's shop also followed the trend. Now, it broadcasts live video every weekday for five to six hours at a time. "On average, as long as we focus on live-streaming, we can achieve sales growth of almost 10%," said Zhu Danni, a staff member and model of MAS&JM. 

Moreover, since 2017, Ma has experimented with the "new retail" model promoted by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma by opening an offline experience shop. Last year, this store, with only 32 employees, achieved an annual sale of 104 million (US$14.65 million), of which e-commerce sales accounted for about 80%.

It's been 20 years since the e-commerce giant Alibaba started business in this province, and statistics shows e-commerce continues to achieve rapid growth. 

By the end of 2018, the province had achieved online retail sales of 167.88 billion yuan (US$23.65 billion), a year-on-year increase of 25.4%; the online retail surplus reached 824.83 billion yuan (US$116.21 billion). E-commerce directly contributes about 2.1 million jobs and indirectly another 5.5 million.

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