Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb today announced a new initiative to assist Australian businesses capture opportunities in China’s rapidly growing online retail markets.
Representatives from some of China’s most influential online platforms including Alibaba, JD.com, Yihaodian and VIP.com will attend a series of Austrade-coordinated seminars, providing first-hand perspectives on China’s internet shopping revolution.
Mr Robb said this was the first time major companies that account for more than 82 per cent of online business-to-consumer sales in China, would be available together in one place to answer questions from Australian business.
"There are well over 300 million online consumers in China and spending is growing rapidly. This is a market Australian business cannot afford to ignore," Mr Robb said.
"Our Free Trade Agreement with China will transform our industries and economy. Businesses need accurate market intelligence and information to take full advantage of this opportunity," he said.
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) signed on 17 June will progressively remove all tariffs on popular Australian products sold online in China such as wine, processed foods, cosmetics and baby products.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, online retail sales in China grew by close to 50 per cent in 2014, reaching $A 500 billion.
Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson will launch a companion publication, E-Commerce in China: a Guide for Australian Business, at the first seminar in Melbourne today.
The Guide, published by Austrade and available online, covers access, distribution, marketing and regulatory issues.
Mr Billson said rising consumer incomes and demand for convenient access to high-quality, trustworthy goods were driving greater numbers of Chinese consumers to look online for imported products.
"There is no substitute for customers. Our small businesses have great products but they need a digital strategy if they are going to realise the full potential China’s online market offers, including the millions of consumers in smaller cities and regions away from the coast," Mr Billson said.
"It’s not just about a Chinese language website, businesses need to embrace the entire online supply chain," he said.
In addition to Melbourne, seminars will be held in Sydney (1 July) and the Gold Coast (3 July) in collaboration with state partners: Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (VIC); Trade and Investment NSW; City of Gold Coast Council and Trade and Investment Queensland.
They are part of an extensive program of events throughout Australia aimed at making business more aware of the opportunities represented by the recently concluded trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China.
E-Commerce in China: a Guide for Australian Business is available from the Austrade website.