E-commerce accelerating economic recovery
by Cheng Xizhong
Editor's note: Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Senior Fellow of the Charhar Institute, former Defense Attache in South Asian countries. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of China Economic Net.
According to a report by "Dawn" on February 12, Pakistan’s e-commerce market size posted a growth of over 35% in the first quarter of the current fiscal year to Rs.96 billion compared with Rs.71 billion over the corresponding period of last fiscal year.
The data was shared in the fourth meeting of National e-Commerce Council (NeCC) chaired by Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood and attended by representatives of the public and private sectors.
In my point of view, the expansion of Pakistan's e-commerce market and the substantial growth of its turnover are the result of the correct policies adopted by the Pakistani government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also closely related to the cooperation between Chinese e-commerce enterprises and local partners in Pakistan, and one of the main reasons why Pakistan's economy has recovered so quickly.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have all shifted from offline to online purchases. As consumers continue to avoid making in-store purchases, the e-commerce market will see additional growth in the years ahead. It is predicted by some international authoritative institutions that the e-commerce market will grow by 11% per annum.
In the field of e-commerce, China has been playing a leading role in the world. Due to the great role of e-commerce, China became the only country among the world's major economies to grow positively last year despite the severe novel coronavirus pneumonia. China has the most mobile users in the world and more e-commerce activities than any other country. In 2020, Chinese consumers spent more than RMB 35 trillion online – more than the UK and US combined.
In the past few years, China's e-commerce has developed rapidly, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the expansion of e-commerce. China`s retail e-commerce business in 2019 increased 27.3% to $1.935 trillion – making up 36.6% of total retail sales, according to Digital Data and Research Company eMarkter. The company also predicted that Chinese retail e-commerce sales will maintain its strong growth in the next few years.
With the rapid growth of the number of Internet users, the continuous progress of information technology, and the rapid development of logistics industry, e-commerce is showing a blowout. As I see, Pakistan has only made a good start in developing e-commerce market. Pakistan is an emerging economy with huge potential for e-commerce. Vigorously developing e-commerce can not only create a lot of employment opportunities, but also accelerate the development of the whole national economy.
As for how to adapt to the increasingly strong trend of e-commerce, I have the following points for reference:
First, the government should timely study the new trend of e-commerce, and take targeted measures to create a fair and open online shopping environment.
Second, the government should formulate a series of new policies to help e-commerce enterprises develop in the fields of taxation, employment, financing, venture capital and entrepreneurship guidance, etc.
Third, we should speed up talent cultivation so as to build a solid foundation for the fast development of e-commerce. The government, enterprises and educational institutions should jointly train talents needed for e-commerce development.
Fourth, we should speed up the development of logistics and warehousing industry to boost the development of e-commerce.