Cross-border e-commerce contributes to China’s foreign trade in 2020, with 31.1% annual growth amid pandemic
Published: Jan 14, 2021 10:53 PM

Alibaba photo:IC

China is the only major economy in the world that witnessed an expanded trade in goods in 2020, to which the explosive growth of new forms and models of trade including cross-border e-commerce has provided support, statistics from customs show.

Imports and exports of China's cross-border e-commerce totaled 1.69 trillion yuan ($261.5 billion) in 2020, up 31.1 percent year-on-year, while the annual growth rate of foreign trade was far behind at 1.9 percent, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Thursday.

E-commerce exports were 1.12 trillion yuan, up 40.1 percent on a yearly basis while imports stood at 570 billion yuan, up 16.5 percent.

According to statistics, Yiwu Customs in East China's Zhejiang Province supervised in 2020 25.94 million cross-border e-commerce bonded import lists, an increase of 197.6 percent year-on-year, with a value of 4.2 billion yuan, up 248.1 percent.

Goods from 170 cross-border platforms go through custom clearance in Yiwu, according to a GAC news release., a B2B international e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group, released its annual report on Thursday. In 2020, the transaction volume increased 101 percent year-on-year in dollar terms, and the number of orders doubled. More than 100 countries and regions saw a year-on-year increase of more than 100 percent in the volume of transactions.

Over the past year, the number of new overseas brands registered on Tmall Global, Alibaba's B2C e-commerce platform, increased by 125 percent year-on-year, and the number of newly debuted imported products increased by 130 percent.

As of November, more than 26,000 overseas brands from 84 countries and regions had entered Tmall Global, covering more than 5,300 categories, of which more than 80 percent of brands entered China for the first time, according to a report by Tmall Global sent to the Global Times on Thursday.

In 2020, Tmall Global launched nearly 1,500 overseas delivery routes to help overseas goods enter China directly from more than 40 countries and regions, said the report. The platform on December 23 launched its first direct China-Europe air route for perfume, and especially niche brands.

Perfume was previously transported by sea as it contains alcohol which is banned from air transportation. Tmall Global used special packaging to solve the problem.

Influenced by the pandemic, the growth rate of exports of Chinese goods slowed from February to April in 2020, with negative annual growth during that time, Tmall Taobao World, another B2C e-commerce platform for imports of Alibaba, told the Global Times on Thursday.

In April, Alibaba launched plans to help small and medium-sized enterprises going abroad, and in June, Chinese merchants began to see double-digit growth.

The export of domestic bicycles has been surging, and the number of bicycles sold on Tmall Taobao World has doubled on a yearly basis for six months in a row, according to the platform. 

E-commerce trade has made a good start in 2021, as Hangzhou customs in Zhejiang Province, has approved 5.7935 million trade bills of cross-border e-commerce with a value of 532 million yuan during the first week of the year, statistics from the GAC showed.