Chinese policymakers eye e-commerce as linchpin of growth

Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:02am EST
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By Gerry Shih

BEIJING (Reuters) - China should support its e-commerce industry with preferential policies, given the role it plays in stimulating domestic consumption and economic growth, China's State Council said in a paper released on Sunday.

The State Council's explicit support for the e-commerce industry and the development of related technologies, such as online payment processing and e-commerce logistics, comes as the country's leadership seeks to stoke domestic consumption amid slowing growth rates.

China's state media has pointed to the $9.3 billion worth of goods bought on Nov. 11, the annual online shopping day known as Singles' Day, as a sign that Chinese consumers can increasingly become the country's economic engine even as key sectors such as real estate sputter.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the newly-public $280 billion e-tailer that has become a champion for China's tech industry on the global stage, will likely be one of the main beneficiaries of national policies in what is already the world's second-largest e-commerce market., China's second largest e-commerce firm, also listed on the Nasdaq this year following a high-profile public offering in May.

The State Council, China's cabinet, did not issue any specific policy recommendations for e-commerce, but its periodic opinions are viewed as indicative of the direction of Chinese industrial policy.

Chinese policymakers have emphasized promoting IT companies as a way to move the country beyond export-based manufacturing and up the economic value chain.

The State Council also pushed for the "transformation and upgrade" of the agricultural sector, greater use of energy-saving products and recycling, and the development of the service industry.   Continued...