Alipay, the country's largest third-party online payment platform, has released its overseas buying data for 2012, showing that one-fourth of the buying volume came from milk powder, as experts said Wednesday that milk powder quality is still a top concern for parents in China.
According to figures released by Alipay Tuesday, online purchasing from overseas reached an average of 1,514 yuan ($244.06) per customer, a growth of 117 percent over the previous year, with baby food, skin care, clothing, healthcare, and electronics products as the most popular choices, and powdered milk and infant food accounting for nearly 25 percent of the total.
The figures echoed the latest data released by the General Administration of Customs Wednesday, which showed that China imported 240,000 tons of milk powder in the first quarter of this year, up by 23.7 percent year-on-year, as the volume of imports has continued to expand.
"The large milk powder buying volume shows that Chinese consumers still don't trust milk powder made in China, and they have the right to choose what they want by buying online," Wang Xianqing, an expert on circulation economics at Guangdong University of Business Studies, told the Global Times Wednesday.
Mother-to-be Bao Xiaohe, who will give birth in Beijing in June, told the Global Times Wednesday that she has asked her sister in the UK to buy her milk powder because she doubts the quality of milk powder available in China.
According to the Alipay figures, consumers from Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shanghai and Beijing accounted for half of the purchasing market, with Zhejiang topping the nation.
The year's biggest individual spender was a consumer from Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, who spent 3.16 million yuan last year buying from overseas.
Buyers from second- and third-tier cities have become more active than ever. Their total spending increased by 132 percent in 2012, with buyers born in the 1980s continuing to lead the consumption, according to the report.