E-commerce

This picture taken on 28 October 2020 shows a customer (right) scanning a QR payment code (centre in green) to pay at a restaurant in Beijing, China. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China will continue to dominate the e-commerce landscape in 2021

China will continue to flex its e-commerce muscles in 2021, predicts Associate Professor Chu Junhong from the NUS Business School. Expect a strong dose of cross-border e-commerce, live-streaming e-commerce, and more eye-catching short videos that promise great returns on “retailtainment”.
This photo taken early on October 23, 2020 shows Silvia Rivera (in background) attending a live-streaming event from a studio in Shanghai to offer products on an Aliexpress channel in Spain. By some estimates, livestream shopping is a near US$70 billion industry inside China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

How China is leading in the live-streaming e-commerce world

Live-streaming e-commerce is fast gaining currency in China, not least when tapping on short video and “we-media” platforms. Supporting the “internet celebrities” who promote endless products through this avenue are a support network backed by AI and big data. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi looks at how this new model is changing the face of retail.
The Alibaba Group signage is seen during the company's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at their headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 11 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

From heroes to pests: What’s happening to China’s internet giants?

With China’s internet giants now moving into the community group-buying market offering groceries at low prices, not everyone’s happy, as livelihoods will be affected and people have learnt a lesson from the huge price they have paid in the growth of these internet giants. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the dark side of the “online vegetable basket” industry.
Pedestrians walk past a Chinese flag in the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China, on 1 December 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China to clamp down on monopolies and spur domestic demand

The meeting of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party last week in preparation for the annual Central Economic Work Conference gave a clear indication of China’s economic direction: it is going full steam ahead on shaping a dual circulation economy driven predominantly by domestic demand. In seeking to implement demand-side reforms, deep-seated social issues and monopolistic tendencies will be addressed.
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100-yuan banknotes in this illustration picture taken 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/REUTERS)

Will China's digital currency accelerate the internationalisation of the RMB?

Some are of the opinion that an e-RMB will encourage the internationalisation of the RMB as a major global currency. NUS academic Duan Jin-Chuan argues that whether the RMB is digitalised or not is not the key issue; internationalisation of the RMB really depends on demand for and attractiveness of the RMB as a trading and value storage tool.
A family wearing face masks walks outside a shopping mall in Beijing on 11 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Chinese housewives: The driving force behind China's e-commerce platforms

China has its army of housewives to thank for its early and deep foothold in e-commerce. The theory goes that with more time on their hands and being fiercely price-conscious, these housewives will never fail to take advantage of discounts for online shopping, and even more importantly, spread the word and get others to do the same.
A man wearing a face mask looks at a robot at the China National Convention Centre, the venue for the upcoming the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on 3 September 2020. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Chinese villagers: The unsung heroes behind China's rapid AI development

Yin Ruizhi points out that China’s AI industry was able to scale up so quickly thanks to an army of rural folk ready to do the laborious yet essential task of data annotation.
Employees attend a pep rally in the yard of a Cainiao warehouse, the logistics subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., ahead of the company's annual Singles' Day shopping extravaganza in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China, on 9 November 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

You have to be as smart as the Chinese to survive Singles' Day shopping in China

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu observes that this year’s head-spinning Singles’ Day sales deals are a tough nut to crack. It is almost as if the organisers want to prevent rather than promote these discounts. Then again, in Chinese life, everything seems to be just that little bit more difficult, whether it’s making a living, raising a child or even keeping a happy marriage going. What’s the moral of the story? Competition in China breeds the street-smart. But what happens to those who are just a tad slower on the uptake?
A general view of Chongqing, September 2019. (SPH)

Connecting Chongqing and Southeast Asia: Challenges and potential of China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative

Chongqing’s GDP accounted for 2.3% of China’s total GDP in 2019, and roughly 2.4% of China-ASEAN bilateral trade volume. As the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) enters its fifth year, EAI academic Yu Hong looks at the CCI and its major project, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (western corridor), and discusses the challenges the western corridor faces in building itself as the foremost connectivity channel between western Chinese and ASEAN enterprises.