By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Mr. Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, Managing Director of World Trade Centre Accra has underscored the need for businesses to tap the potential of cross-border e-commerce in advancing world business transactions and trade negotiations.
He highlighted the new opportunities offered by cross-border e-commerce in the world's largest consumer market and confirmed that China’s growing purchasing power will create a huge potential market for cross-border e-commerce.
Mr. Doni-Kwame said this at the 14th World Business Leaders Roundtable (WBLR) held in China as part of the 2015 China International Fair for Investment and Trade which attracted business leaders from the United Kingdom, Germany, Ghana, China and India, among other countries.
On his part, the Chairman of World Trade Centres Association, Ghazi Abu Nahlsaid said: “China's efforts to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund, and its four free trade zones have not only created great capital flows and boosted infrastructure construction, they have also opened up the Chinese market, where the middle class has become increasingly stronger.”
The Daily Express gathered that China's cross-border e-commerce has developed rapidly in recent years. In 2014, the country's cross-border e-commerce trade volume was 4.2 trillion yuan (US$670 billion), up 33% year-on-year, and it has been estimated that by 2016, China's cross-border e-commerce trade volume will reach 6.5 trillion yuan.
Stephen Phillips, CEO of the China-Britain Business Council, indicated that Chinese companies' internationalization efforts will lead to more collaboration opportunities.
He mentioned that many Chinese enterprises, such as Alibaba and Jingdong, are trying to build connections with other countries in the world and go global, just like many export companies in Britain. As a result, there are great opportunities for collaboration between China and the rest of the world, particularly as China implements its Belt and Road strategy.
The Vice-Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wang Jingzhen explained that cross-border e-commerce was one of the five key points proposed by President Xi Jinping which is an important part of connecting infrastructure.
"The Belt and Road initiative has opened up a more convenient trading environment for cross-border e-commerce, which is growing rapidly,” Jingzhen said.
He added that both China's Outbound Direct Investment (ODI) to the world and foreign direct investment into the country saw strong growth between January and July, leaving the world's second-largest economy firmly on track to meet its growth target in 2015.
Data from the China’s Ministry of Commerce shows that foreign direct investment (FDI) into China grew by 7.9% year-on-year to 471.1 billion yuan (US$74 billion) through the first seven months of this year, while China's ODI grew at a dynamic pace in the January-July period, jumping 20.8% on a year-on-year basis to US$63.5 billion.
The country became a net capital exporter last year as the ODI figure of US$116 billion exceeded capital inflows for the first time.
Wang Shouwen, China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, said the fast-growing pace of ODI can be attributed to a range of developments that have taken place at home and abroad.
In addition, FDI into China's non-financial sector is expected to increase by 4% year-on-year to US$125 billion this year, which would be helpful to boost the country's high-end manufacturing industries and the service sector," said Wang.
China is currently discussing finer details on services and goods trading, as well as investment and technology collaboration with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN is China's third-biggest trading partner, with trade between the two worth over US$480 billion in 2014, up 8.23% from a year earlier.
The region hopes to achieve bilateral trade with China worth US$500 billion by the end of this year and US$1 trillion by 2020, with two-way investment levels of US$150 billion by 2020.
Ni Chao, Vice-Mayor of Xiamen, said sustainable development will become a key factor in determining the nation's future economic shape.
“The European debt crisis to a certain extent offers Chinese companies an opportunity to acquire high-end and greener European companies, especially ones in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, at bargain prices,” Ni said.
Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, also underlined his commitment to a strategic agreement signed between the company and officials in Fujian province.
The group said it is going to use its big data and cloud computing expertise to help develop e-commerce for products made in Fujian, as well as helping the provincial government with its procurement activities, administrative approvals and credit systems.
Su Shulin, Governor of Fujian, stated that his Province "has a lot of advantages when it comes to economic growth" as it enjoys "a lot of favorable policies" from central government.
The Chairman of Otto Group, a German e-commerce retail company that operates in more than 20 countries also spoke of the success of their e-commerce business in China.