China will set up a cross-border e-commerce platform in Guangxi to facilitate more imports of commodities from the Southeast Asian countries, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said during the opening of the 13th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit over the weekend.
E-commerce is widely perceived as a key sector to deepen the cooperation and integration between China and ASEAN by the participants of the event, which is held in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region between Sunday and Wednesday.
Meanwhile, China is considering to draft new laws and regulations for the country's e-commerce industry so as to speed up the development of rural e-commerce and cross-border online trade, Jia Shuying, deputy director of the Department of Electronic Commerce and Informatization with the Ministry of Commerce, said Sunday during the China-ASEAN E-commerce Summit held in Nanning.
Chinese e-commerce firms are showing great interest in the region. Alibaba Group Holding, for instance, signed a deal with Guangxi authorities during the e-commerce summit, to further expand in ASEAN.
"Online shopping has become mainstream around the world … traditional trade firms need to embrace e-commerce, which requires support services," Yu Yong, vice president of Alibaba, said at the summit.
The largest Chinese e-commerce company has already tested waters in Southeast Asia via its business-to-business e-commerce marketplace alibaba.com and a $1 billion investment in Singapore-based e-commerce start-up Lazada Group.
Its smaller rival JD.com Inc is also vying for the ASEAN markets, having launched an online sales channel as well as an offline experience store in Guangxi this January to introduce goods to and from ASEAN countries.
However, e-commerce is still at a nascent stage in Southeast Asia.
According to a report by Malaysian government-backed institution Multimedia Development Corp in April, e-commerce sales in Southeast Asia reached $9 billion in 2015, up 29 percent from 2010. But the figure accounted for less than 1 percent of the global online sales. China's e-commerce sales volumes hit $293 billion in 2015, a surge of 86 percent compared to 2010.