China's online sales soar in Jan-Sept: govt

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The Independent Online

Online sales in China almost doubled in the first nine months of this year, official data showed Tuesday, as the nation becomes more switched on and confident in Internet shopping.

China's enormous Internet community spent 168.9 billion yuan (25 billion dollars) through their computers in the January-September period, a 90 percent increase from the same period last year, the government data showed.

And Di Jiankai, a director-general of the commerce ministry, told reporters the total figure for the whole year was expected to exceed 260 billion yuan. He did not providing a comparative figure for 2008.

"The commerce ministry pays great attention to e-commerce," he added. "It is a very important business form we can use to boost consumption."

A report by research firm iResearch and China's top auction website Taobao shows online sales reached 120 billion yuan last year, up 128.5 percent from the previous year.

Liu Ning, a Beijing-based analyst with research firm BDA China, said the online shopping market has been growing strongly as consumers become more confident in payment security and the quality of goods sold.

"Users are getting more and more familiar with Internet shopping and they now have got some guarantee with the emergence of the third-party payment companies," he told AFP.

"All these are among the factors behind the market boom."

China has at least 338 million Internet users, more than any other country in the world, official data shows.

By the end of June, the number of online shoppers in China reached 87.88 million, meaning one in four Internet users shopped online, according to a report by the government-linked China Internet Network Information Centre.