Wei Jianguo: China to Become the World’s Largest Retail Market This Year
The pandemic has spawned many new business models in China. For example, e-commerce has experienced a sharp increase, especially during the “May Day” holiday, sales growth on some e-platforms exceeded 40%. Even many mayors started to sell products through livestreaming to promote the local economy.
According to CCIEE Vice Chairman Wei Jianguo, the average parcels delivered in China exceeded 100 million pieces everyday and logistics will be further accelerated in the future. E-commerce is targeting wider consumer groups with the potential for continued development, such as the elderly. Local governments have launched policies to encourage consumption. In the future, “New Consumption” will continue to increase and lead the global consumer market. The total retail sales of consumer goods in China this year is expected to increase from about 40 trillion yuan of last year to 45 trillion, surpassing the United States as the world’s largest retail market.
If China can seize on the opportunities brought by the new business models, it will not only boost consumption growth, but also promote consumption upgrading and achieve high-quality development.
Meanwhile, China should step up its efforts to improve the quality of e-commerce platforms and products, so as to give consumers more confidence to shop online.
China’s foreign trade trend has attracted worldwide attention recently. In April, China’s exports increased by 8.2% year-on-year, more than double the growth rate of the same period last year. In March, however, many European and American companies canceled their orders because of the pandemic outbreak.
Wei Jianguo said that the unique advantage of China’s foreign trade lies in the integration of three trade methods: processing trade, general trade, and cross-border e-commerce, which will work as a cushion when exports are impacted adversely. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, cross-border e-commerce has developed rapidly and many companies managed to obtain orders online. Today, cross-border e-commerce has become a “vibrant cell” of China’s foreign trade and will provide strong support for foreign trade during this difficult time.
He predicts that China’s foreign trade will continue to recover in the second quarter, and make more progress in the third and fourth quarter.
Affected by the pandemic, the prospects for global cross-border investments are not good this year, but China’s absorption of foreign capital has risen against the trend. In April, China’s actual use of foreign capital increased by 11.8% year-on-year, much higher than the 6.3% in the same period last year.
In Wei Jianguo’s view, China’s absorption of foreign capital this year is expected to reach $150 billion for three reasons. Firstly, China has implemented the new foreign investment law this year to promote foreign investment. Secondly, China is improving the business environment and strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights, which will help stabilize the expectations of global investors. Lastly, China’s attractiveness for investors has increasingly shifted from low costs to the huge market. By making investments in China, foreign companies can maintain a close relationship with the Chinese market and make quick responses if necessary, reduce costs and maximize benefits. All these changes will make China attractive to global investors.
He expects that China’s foreign capital will continue to grow and China will remain the best choice of more multinational companies.