E-commerce boom on the way: Alibaba

By Tu Lei in Hangzhou Source:Global Times Published: 2013-5-9 23:38:01

A research center under Alibaba Group, China's largest e-commence company, Thursday predicted that China is expected to see an e-commerce transaction volume of nearly 50 trillion yuan ($8.15 trillion) by 2020, almost six times higher than in 2012, showing the potential of the world's second largest market for online business.

China's transaction volume will hit 47.8 trillion yuan by 2020, but the figure is still a little "conservative," Liang Chunxiao, head of the Alibaba Corporate Research Center, said at a press conference in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, headquarters of Alibaba, one day ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the group's taobao.com.

On Friday, Alibaba Group's founder Ma Yu will step down as CEO to be replaced by Lu Zhaoxi, who has served in the group for years.

Liang said 33.7 trillion yuan, or 70 percent, of China's total online transactions will come from the business-to-business (B2B) sector, and that "B2B will continue to surprise us."

Traditional department store models were all right before 2012, but that changed on November 11, a big promotion day last year, when sales on Alibaba's taobao.com and tmall.com reached 19.1 billion yuan and demonstrated that online sales are really impacting the traditional sales model, Liang said.

Alibaba insiders said that in the first minute of the November 11 promotions, there were 10 million people online at the same time and the broadband hit 2.1 terabytes per second, the equivalent of all the residents in Hangzhou downloading movies at the same time.

Liang also called on the government to cut the tax burden on small and micro-sized online companies.

"A promising online business needs more government tax incentives, especially in the B2B sector," Feng Lin, an e-commerce analyst at Hangzhou-based China e-Business Research Center, told the Global Times Thursday.

At the end of last month, Alibaba had invested $586 million to buy an 18 percent stake in Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform owned by Sina Corp, and many believed that Weibo would be a new business channel for more sellers.

Alibaba saw its Q4 net profit rise 171.1 percent year-on-year, according to a regulatory filing by major shareholder Yahoo.

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