The Chinese government has identified e-commerce as the main driver of economic growth, introducing legislation designed to integrate digital commerce into the economic activities of all business sectors, according to China’s official news service. Despite an economic slowdown some say has affected cross-border e-commerce globally, Chinese officials expect their commitment to result in annual e-commerce volumes of 40 trillion yuan ($5.8 trillion) and annual retail sales reaching 10 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) for Chinese businesses by 2020. The government predicted 50 million people in China will be involved in the e-commerce industry by 2020.
A draft of the Ministry of Commerce’s 2016-2020 e-commerce development plan was sent to legislators in late December. The draft recommends that online and offline commercial activities should be on equal footing from a regulatory perspective, including providing for security in e-commerce transactions and ensuring that e-commerce operators pay appropriate taxes. In return for abiding by the regulatory requirements of the draft, officials said e-commerce will help drive innovation in education, medical care, tourism and other sectors, and become a key engine powering economic transition.