China and ASEAN economies have much complementarity in products. ASEAN countries have demand for high value-added manufactured products China produces, among which, communication and consumer electronic products claiming the highest ratio, and health and beauty products, and fashion accessories respectively taking the second and third place.
Main imports sent to China from ASEAN countries are agricultural and high-quality specialty products, such as brewed drinks, milk powder, health products, latex pillows, snacks and rice, according to Zhao Ping, an expert with the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
In recent years, investment in cross-border e-commerce trade between China and ASEAN has been quite active. For example, in 2016, Alibaba Group acquired controlling stakes in Lazada Group, one of the largest e-commerce platforms in ASEAN countries. China’s second-largest e-commerce business JD and Thai company Central Group joined hands and set up JD Central, a joint venture to offer e-commerce services.
Chinese companies mainly invest in e-commerce, logistics and mobile application in ASEAN countries. Advantages Chinese companies boast in technology, experience and channel can help drive the development of related industries of ASEAN and bilateral cross-border e-commerce.
However, according to CCPIT Academy report, China and ASEAN still have room to improve in uplifting level of cross-border e-commerce trade. Its survey showed that, most of the enterprises that were interviewed consider the development level of cross-border e-commerce trade between the two sides no higher than average.
24.39 percent of them rated the development relatively satisfactory, while 14.63 thought it poor. At present, main ASEAN countries China picks to develop cross-border e-commerce are Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, among whom, Indonesia outperformed. As the largest ASEAN country, Indonesia has registered an annual growth rate of around 5 percent over the past years. As of 2017, China has been Indonesia’s largest trading partner for 7 consecutive years. In 2017, two-way trade volume increased by 18.3 percent year-on-year, hitting $63.3bn, in which, Indonesia’s exports to China was up 33 percent.
Indonesian government welcomes Chinese e-commerce businesses to invest and cooperate with local companies to boost its e-commerce industry. Indonesian Ambassador to China recently invited JUMORE to visit Indonesian embassy in China and discuss cooperation potentials. As a digital platform for global supply chains, JUMORE can play a part in boosting the digital transformation of Indonesian companies.
CCPIT survey also showed that the development of cross-border e-commerce trade is dependent on trade facilitation to some extent, high-level trade facilitation can boost links in trade process, such as logistics, customs clearance and facilitation infrastructure.
Infrastructure construction plays an essential role in the development of cross-border e-commerce, about 22.3 percent of the enterprises interviewed said that warehouse cost them a lot, and about 39 percent of them thought efficiency of logistics services is low.
Aside from these factors, the development of cross-border e-commerce is also limited by weak financial bases and e-payment mechanism. About 39 percent of the enterprises said e-payment systems for cross-border e-commerce trade between China and ASEAN needs improving.
Confronting these problems, CCPIT Academy encourages both sides to invest more efforts to improve supporting links including internet technology, logistics, policy environment, and laws and regulations related to e-commerce.
It is estimated that cross-border e-commerce trade volume between China and ASEAN will surge by about 50 percent in 2018.