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Online Trade Spreads Its Net to More Customers

The e-commerce business in China has entered a golden period, with increasing customer awareness and use spurred by service providers' promotions, industrial executives have said.

Song Ling, president of China E-commerce Association, said growth of the online trading business has increased by an average of 40 per cent over the past three years. Song is also optimistic for the future, predicting an average annual growth rate of 50 per cent over the coming three years.

The transaction volume of online trading reached 21.86 billion yuan (US$2.64 billion) last year.

According to the China E-commerce president, the robust growth of China's Internet population, especially broadband Internet users, is a fundamental driving force in the explosive growth of e-commerce.

According to the China Internet Network Information Centre, China's Internet users totalled 94 million individuals by the end of 2004, including 6.1 million broadband Internet users. It is estimated the number of broadband Internet subscribers will grow to 176 million in 2010.

With the growth of Internet use, more people have begun to accept online trading. According to CNNIC's statistics, more than 40 million people conducted transactions on the Internet in 2004, compared with 10.65 million in 2001. More than 60 per cent of people say they will try online trading this year.

The online auction business, one of the fastest-growing sectors of e-commerce, also saw a sharp increase in numbers of users.

Taobao.com, an online auction subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.com, said in April that the transaction volume on its website had already exceeded 1 billion yuan (US$120 million) in the first quarter with over 7 million products listed on its website.

US giant eBay Inc said its Chinese operation eBay EachNet had achieved substantial progress in China with the number of users rising from 9.8 million in the final quarter of last year to 11.6 million at the end of the first quarter this year.

(China Daily May 13, 2005)

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