INTERNET USAGE IN CHINA E-COMMERCE -
On July 16, 2010, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)
reported 420 million Internet users in China. This justifies Chinese e-commerce
developement at a dazzling speed. Nearly 34 million Chinese people joined the
online shopping army in the first six months the year, bringing the total number
to 142 million.
These figures mean one out of every three Chinese Internet users, or one out
of 10 Chinese people, is shopping online, according to the CNNIC. "The rise of
group-buying websites showcases the regional development of e-commerce," the
report adds. Online retail sales increased 117 percent annually between 2007
and 2009, and they are expected to amount to 450 billion yuan this year,
according to the research center of Alibaba Group, which runs the global
e-commerce site Alibaba.com.
The Digital Divide between urban and rural areas is still obvious. The
report shows that by the end of June 2007, the number of the rural Internet
users reached 37.41 million. The penetration rate of the Internet for all
737 million rural residents is only 5.1%. Meanwhile, China has 125 million
urban Internet users, with an urban penetration rate of 21.6%. However,
comparing with the statistics of December 2006, the gap has been gradually
narrowed. China had 23.1 million rural Internet users in 2006, with a
penetration rate of 3.1%.
bottleneck is that at year end of 2006, every 100 households in
rural areas possess only 2.7 computers, which is far behind the figure for
urban areas (47.2 computers). Comparing with the figures for the same period
in 2005, the computer number increased from 0.6 in every 100 rural households,
while the urban households now have 5.7 computers more. The report also
indicates their reasons for not using the Internet. The main reason is having no
facility, which accounted for 39.5% of all non-users in rural areas, while
this proportion in urban areas is only 26.6%. Due to the lack of household
computers, 53.9% of rural users surf online in Internet cafes, resulting in
a much higher figure that even exceeds the national average Internet café
surfing rate of 37.2%. Insufficient Internet infrastructures in rural areas
has become the major bottleneck that blocking the development of the Internet
usage in Chinese rural areas.
Comparing with urban users, the application level of rural Internet users
is less advanced. The report shows that 66.5% of rural users read online news,
while the proportion in urban areas is 81.5%, which is 15 percentage points
higher; 65.8% of the rural users use search engines while the rate in urban
areas is 13 percentage points higher (78.4%). Besides, much less users in
rural areas have ever touched online purchasing, online banking and online
It was found in the survey that rural users and urban users have similar
access level for online entertainment. The rates of listening online music,
playing online games and watching online movies and TV series of rural users
are respectively 68.9%, 47.1% and 60.9%, comparing to 68.4%, 47.0% and 61.2%
of urban users.
The survey also involved rural migrants. The statistics show that rural
migrant users reached 20 million and that most of them access the Internet
in Internet cafes or through their mobile phones. For that matter, they
averagely pay 86.6 RMB Yuan per month, that is 11 Yuan higher than the
average level of the total Internet users (75 RMB Yuan) and even higher
than the total non-student users monthly cost of 80.8 RMB Yuan.
In conclusion, along with the progress of rural informatization access
in China, the Internet has become a substantial part of the building of a
new-type rural area. 37 million rural users are bringing vast demand and
real business opportunities. No one doubts the rural area in China will become
a great Internet market.
For marketers wishing to penetrate this market, the following elements should be
1. Web Site Design
This could mean simply a translation of Web sites into
Chinese, or re-designing them completely in order to be
culturally and aesthetically correct.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Just like with English language search engines, users can
increase their chances of being among the top hits on Chinese
language search engines by altering and optimizing their web
3. Online Auctions
The world leader eBay has already entered the Chinese
market, and there are other global Internet auction sites that
marketers may want to use.
4. Online Advertising
China's Web sites carry advertising (including Google-like
adwords) just like English language Web sites. You need local
advertising to enter this specific market.
5. Online Public Relations
There are several Chinese print and electronic publications that
receive press releases via email. This option should be
considered for additional publicity.