Why China’s E-commerce expansion is good news for Aussie businesses

During the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s digital economy became a central force, enabling many core aspects of life to continue. Online products and service offerings, remote working and learning, healthcare and leisure continued at scale, with the trend continuing and many becoming permanent features of China’s digital economy.

Over the past two decades, China has developed an advanced and extensive digital economy. It has invested heavily in next generation internet and mobile technologies, leading to massive user penetration rates, and the development and enabling of new business models.

China’s population is truly ‘connected’ with China on-track to overtake the US as the largest retail market in the world. In 2021, the digital economy reached US$7.1 trillion (RMB 47.94 trillion). In 2022, China’s State Council shared their plan to facilitate the development of the digital economy in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). They plan to raise the proportion of the added value of core digital economy industries in its GDP to 10 percent in 2025, up from 7.8 percent in 2020.1

China’s digital economy conglomerates like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent provide an extensive array of digital businesses and technology platforms. They are involved in everything from financial services, online payments, news and information, logistics and distribution, eCommerce, social media and messaging through to online-to-offline (O2O) retail, cloud computing and mobile gaming.


As China’s digital landscape continues to grow and develop, Australian SMEs and brands that want to succeed in China must build new capabilities ​​to navigate the opportunities. In October 2022, Asialink Business supported by The National Foundation for Australia-China Relations and Austrade, will commence the third round of The China Digital Economy Academy program. The program is designed specifically for Australian SMEs and brands who are currently doing business in China or have China on their radar.

Asialink Business Associate Director, Shiraz Engineer, said it was the perfect fit for Australian organisations seeking advice from experts, providing participants with a deep understanding of eCommerce in China, building agility and capability to adapt to the fast-moving market conditions and consumer preferences. 

“China has one of the world’s largest eCommerce markets. The sheer size enables digital players to achieve economies of scale quickly, and provides enormous business opportunities for Australian organisations,” he says.

“We have data which points to 80 per cent of companies with an above average Asia capability, typically generate 40 per cent of their revenues from Asian markets.”

“However, it’s important to understand the market you are entering, and this is by having expert advice and support,” he says.


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