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The recent price war among China’s 3 largest online retailers has provoked heated debates offline. As rounds of head-to-head price battles continue on, CCTV reporter Li Qiuyuan takes a look at how this sits with China’s netizens.
Coming home from a long day at work.
For Geng Bin, browsing his favourite shopping sites has become a daily unwinding routine.
And for many wage earners living in a crowded city like him, this may be a more comfortable way of shopping.
"I started to use online shopping sites like Taobao and 360buy a few years ago, and now it’s becoming a habit. Whenever I need to buy something, I will go search online shopping sites first, I find them very informative. I can get a clear comparison between different brands and their prices. The review and ratings are very helpful too, it helps me know the product better...and fast too." Geng Bin said.
Retail giants see huge profit in China’s online market.
The most recent round of price battle targeting online shoppers came about in mid-August, when one of the largest Chinese online retailers "360buy.com" announced that their home appliance products will be sold at zero gross margins for the next three years.
Its competitors responded with even fiercer price cuts.
"I’m waiting to see what happen next, I’m a pretty rational buyer."
"...haven’t heard of it."
"I hope we can scoop some good deals out of it."
China has more than 500 million internet users, making it the world’s largest internet population.
And according to the Ministry of Commerce, e-commerce transactions totalled 5.88 trillion yuan (933 billion U.S. dollars) last year, up 29.2 percent year on year. And this number is expected to hit 18 trillion yuan (2.86 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2015.
"It’s convenient and fast ."
"It’s cheaper, but sometimes what you get is quite different from the picture shown on the website, so it could be risky."
"The gratification is the same as buying stuff from brick-and-mortar stores..."
The advancement in mobile devices has no doubt boosted e-commerce. Many websites have developed 3G applications for users to shop on the go.
Along with that, e-commerce has also expanded into various industries such as agriculture, trading ,transportation, finance and travel, and is merging with China’s substantial economy.
Already e-tickets are something that the government is placing great emphasis on, to improve the country’s public transport system.
"It’s not limited to buying products like electronic devices or home appliances, I use it to buy service too, such as memberships. It is really expanding into every aspect of my life." Geng said.
For Geng Bin, it seems like all the barriers initially holding e-commerce back, such as those on correct-fit, secure payments and convenient deliveries, have been significantly reduced over the years, if not totally removed.
And as e-commerce gets hotter, it does seem like it is gradually re-moulding people’s shopping behavior, both on and off-line.