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The rise and rise of Bamboo capitalism
18 June 2013 Posted by 

The rise and rise of Bamboo capitalism

THE popularity of online shopping is skyrocketing in emerging markets. China leads the way with an e-commerce sector tipped to become the world’s largest during 2013, overtaking that of the US.

At the virtual checkout, cash register numbers are astonishing. In 2012, Chinese e-commerce giant made world headlines when it rang up US$3.043 billion in sales on one day. Its parent company, Alibaba Group Holding, is lately valued at about US$65 billion with an expected IPO this year likely to be bigger than Facebook's.

China topped global consultancy A.T. Kearney’s 2012 E-Commerce Index of fast-growing e-commerce emerging markets, with Brazil in second place and Russia third. With a 78% annual growth rate since 2006, China’s online shopping market is expected to explode as the country's infrastructure improves and purchasing behaviours evolve.

Online trading is a key part of the private-sector “bamboo capitalism” flourishing in the communist state and it's growing faster than that of developed countries, aided by a consumer shop-fest on mobile devices and a proliferation of social media.

Mobile sales rose by 600% in 2012 on two of China’s biggest e-tail sites, Tmall and Taobao – both owned by Alibaba – to 57 million purchases. Taobao, a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) portal like eBay, features nearly one billion products and is one of the 20 most-visited sites globally.

Tmall, a business-to-consumer (B2C) portal a little like Amazon, helps global brands such as Disney and Levi’s reach into China where apparel and electronics are the top-sellers online.

The Internet Society of China (ISC) says e-commerce has developed fast in the country’s industrial, agricultural, transportation and financial sectors. Total online sales in China rose by 64.7% year-on-year in 2012, to $US210.4 billion (but still only 6.3% of total Chinese retail transactions), according to the ISC.

By comparison, US e-commerce sales rose at a slower rate in 2012 – by 15.8% – to $US225.5 billion, up from $194.7 billion in 2011 (7.6% of total retail transactions), according to the US Commerce Department. US mobile e-commerce sales rose by 4% in the US in 2012 to $24.7 billion, however, accounting for 11% of total e-commerce purchases.


Nicole Baines

Nicole Baines runs All My Admin, a business that provides support services to Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) for its online activities. Call (02) 9894 8682 for assistance.