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Online Trade to Soar in 5 Years
China's electronic commerce will see rapid growth in the coming five years under a friendly environment fostered by the government, said Wu Jichuan, minister of information industry, during Thursday's Fifth China International Electronic Commerce Summit.

"China's e-commerce is still in its initial stage, its basic infrastructure, logistic system, financial support system and social credit system are lagging far behind those in use in developed countries," said Wu.

But the Chinese government will soon make new laws and regulations for online taxes and tariffs, electronic payments and identity certification to nurture the rapid growth of its e-commerce, he said.

A nationwide logistic network, financial regulation system and credit system will also be set up soon, according to Wu.

Unlike the previous four summits in which the attendants were mainly dotcom company representatives and experts, traditional companies were the major players this time.

The Construction Bank of China, the China Petro-chemical Corporation, the State Postal Bureau and a number of other traditional companies boasted the largest and best-positioned exhibition booths.

Overseas attendants will impart their experience of e-commerce development to their Chinese counterparts.

Statistics indicate that China has set up 1,500 e-commerce websites to date, and its business volume reached 77.16 billion yuan (US$9.32 billion) in 2000, including 390 million yuan (US$47 million) from B2C (business to consumer) transactions and 76.77 billion yuan (US$9.27 billion) from B2B (business to business) transactions.

Banking, securities and civil aviation sectors are leading the utilization of this new trading method, said Yang Weidong, secretary-general of the China E-Commerce Association.

The application of e-commerce in the banking industry has become a hot topic. Senior bankers generally held that the fast development of networks and information technology has brought about unprecedented challenges to traditional banking industry, and banks have no other choice but to forge ahead by taking to e-commerce.

China Merchants Bank, a relatively small bank, generated a transaction volume of 590 billion yuan (US$71 billion) through online banking last year, according to statistics from the bank.

The e-commerce summit, to run through till Sunday, is hosted by the Ministry of Information Industry, the State Development Planning Commission, the State Economic and Trade Commission and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

(China Daily 04/06/2001)

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