China spending more online, Guangdong leads expenditure

Country's average per capita online transactions has swelled to over US$1,642, led by the Guangdong province which accounts for 16 percent of the national online expenditure.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

China's online community is spending a small bundle on the Web, with smaller cities and even counties joining in the shopping spree. 

According to the latest stats from the country's biggest e-payment vendor, Alipay, the average per capita online transactions which include shopping, money transfers, and bill payments clocked at over 10,000 yuan (US$1,642) last year.  

Online spending was led by China's coastal province of Guangdong, which accounted for some 16 percent of the country's overall online expenditure, followed by Zhejiang province, Beijing, Shanghai, and Jiangsu province, reported China Daily.  

Not surprisingly, the nation's tier-1 cities were big online spenders, but Alipay noted that smaller cities and counties were making their mark. Online shoppers from Yiwu in Zhejiang, for instance, forked out an average of 40,000 yuan (US$6,569) last year, spending more than twice the amount of their counterparts in Beijing. 

According to Alipay's top 100 small cities and counties, 36 were from Zhejiang province, followed by Jiangsu which accounted for 27 small cities in the list, and Fujian at 13. Residents in this top 100 list shopped online an average of eight times in 2013.  

Online shoppers who spent over 1 million yuan (US$164,219) last year were from Yiwu and Cangnan county, in Zhejiang, and Changshu which is located in the Jiangsu province. 

Citing an analyst from Analysys International, Mao Ajing, the report said the e-commerce market in China's tier-1 and tier-2 cities was intensely competitive. "Many e-commerce companies made moves in 2013 to expand to tier-3 and tier-4 cities," said Mao, who noted that household incomes might be lower in lower-tier cities, but so were living costs, providing for more disposable incomes.

Residents of smaller cities might even "have more money to splurge online", he added.

In addition, as more people in China access the Web via their mobile devices and smartphones, market observers believe this will further fuel online shopping in the country. According to Alipay, 38 percent of its users in Yushu county of Qinghai province made online payments via their mobile devices--the highest of any region in 2013. 

Across China, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou remained the top three cities with the highest number of mobile online payments. In addition, about 37 million Chinese paid for their online purchases via their mobiles between midnight and 5am, revealed Alipay stats. 

The country's total Internet population clocked at over 591 million in July 2013, with 78.5 percent accessing the Web via their mobile devices. As part of its efforts to drive mobile transactions on its platform, Alipay said last month it would waive a levy for payments made via mobile devices. 

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