Europe becomes leading market for Chinese e-commerce exports

By Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/25 21:13:41

Thousands of Spanish customers visit AliExpress Plaza, the first brick-and-mortar store opened by online marketplace AliExpress in Madrid. Photo: Courtesy of AliExpress

Europe is turning into a leading market for Chinese online marketplace, a trend that reflects rising trade ties between China and Europe at a time when both of them are being elbowed out by protectionism in the US. 

According to information provided by AliExpress, Alibaba's business-to-consumer (B2C) online global marketplace, of the platform's top five markets in terms of sales volume, three are in Europe: Russia, France and Spain. 

This shows that many European customers very much welcome China-made products sold on the website, which range from consumer electronics to furniture and outdoor gear. Products are sold to more than 200 countries and regions via AliExpress.

Spain is a good example of how European customers are passionate about made-in-China products. When AliExpress opened its first brick-and-mortar store selling Chinese goods in Madrid this year, local customers waited as long as two or three hours to get into the store. On the first day, around 6,000 local customers visited the store, said Wang Mingqiang, general manager of AliExpress. 

"In the past few years, we clearly feel that Spanish customers have increasing recognition of Chinese products. We get feedback from them that made-in-China products offer excellent quality at reasonable prices," said Wang Changhui, general manager of AliExpress's station in Spain.  

On, Alibaba's business-to-business (B2B) global e-commerce platform, European markets showed strong growth potential. For example, the volume of trade surged by 186 percent year-on-year in the Netherlands during the platform's purchasing festival in September, while Germany saw trade volume surge by 141 percent during the same period. 

Overall, China's trade with Europe rose 6.4 percent in yuan terms in the first 11 months of this year, customs data showed. Exports from China to Europe rose by 9.8 percent during the period. 

The flourishing e-commerce trade between China and Europe partly reflects the popularization of the internet in Europe as well as the area's sound logistics system, but it also underscores China's irreplaceable industry chain for consumption goods, said Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research and veteran internet observer. 

"The rising popularity of Chinese goods shows that China and Europe are enhancing trade ties with each other, as both are facing protectionism from the US," Zhang said. 

China is locked in a trade war initiated by the US that saw both of them raising tariffs on each other. Meanwhile, the US government also threatened the EU with a raft of new tariff increases recently. 

"I think what the US has done to Europe is pushing Europe to trust China more and cooperate with Chinese companies," Zhang said. 

He added that the rising trade relations between China and Europe are shoring up pressure on the US government to resolve its trade friction with China. "Otherwise, it will see more of its market share in China being 'snatched' by European companies," Zhang said. 

Companies and e-commerce platforms from China are also rolling out plans to increase investment in Europe next year. AliExpress, for example, will enhance its logistics building in European markets like Russia and France in 2020, Wang Mingqiang said. 


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