The report of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China pointed out that it is necessary to completely, accurately and comprehensively implement the new development concept, adhere to the direction of socialist market economic reform, adhere to a high level of opening up to the outside world, and accelerate the construction of a new system with the domestic cycle as the main body and the domestic and international dual cycles promoting each other. development pattern.
Since the beginning of this year, relevant departments have issued several policies and measures to promote the development of cross-border e-commerce to improve quality and efficiency. As one of the new forms of foreign trade, why has cross-border e-commerce become an important starting point for stabilizing foreign trade? How big is the development space for the cross-border e-commerce industry? How to boost the high-quality development of foreign trade?
Expand new space for foreign trade development
Cross-border e-commerce is a new form of foreign trade with the fastest development speed, the greatest potential and the strongest driving effect. In the face of the complex and changeable trade environment, cross-border e-commerce has shown great market vitality and growth resilience, and has become a vital force and a new important starting point for the high-quality development of my country’s foreign trade.
Data show that in the five years since 2017, my country’s cross-border e-commerce import and export scale has increased by nearly 10 times. In 2021, the import and export value of cross-border e-commerce will reach 1.92 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 18.6%; of which the export value is 1.39 trillion yuan, an increase of 28.3%, and the proportion of the total export value has increased from less than 1% in 2015 to 6.4%. %.
In terms of commodities, more than 90% of cross-border e-commerce goods are consumer goods. Imported commodities mainly include cosmetics and toiletries, medicine and health care, maternal and child products, and fresh food; export commodities are more diverse, and are gradually shifting from labor-intensive products such as clothing, shoes, bags, and home textiles to electronic digital, smart home, etc. Technology-intensive product upgrades.
From the perspective of enterprise entities, cross-border e-commerce has greatly lowered the professionalization threshold for international trade, making a large number of small and micro entities who “can’t do it, can’t do it, can’t do it” become new trade operators. As of the first quarter of 2022, more than 46,000 companies have registered on the online comprehensive service platform of the cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zone, becoming a new force in the innovation and development of foreign trade.
While the industry is growing rapidly, the development environment of cross-border e-commerce is also constantly being optimized. The State Council has successively established 132 cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones in 6 batches, covering 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. Multi-departmental exploration to form a cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zone system framework with “six systems and two platforms” as the core, technical standards, business processes, supervision models and information in transactions, payment, logistics, customs clearance, tax rebates, foreign exchange settlement and other links Chemical construction and other aspects of the first trial.
In addition, according to the different customs clearance forms of cross-border e-commerce, multiple departments have targeted the establishment of “online shopping bonded import”, “direct purchase import”, “general export”, “special regional export”, “B2B direct export” and “cross-border e-commerce export overseas warehouse”. ” and other personalized supervision models. Up to now, all relevant departments have introduced nearly 200 innovative measures, and initially established a policy framework to adapt to the development of cross-border e-commerce. It has played a significant role in the new development pattern.
With the continuous deepening of cross-border e-commerce innovation, many new features have emerged. One is the rapid development of independent stations. A website built by an enterprise with an independent domain name and used for e-commerce business can effectively reduce operating costs, carry out precise marketing, and enhance brand value. According to estimates, the number of independent stations in my country has reached about 200,000; second, the new format of “social platform + e-commerce” is in the ascendant. Social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc., have increasingly become important purchasing and marketing channels for cross-border e-commerce; third, the construction of overseas warehouses has shown a strong growth momentum. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, there are currently more than 2,000 overseas warehouses in my country, with a total area of more than 16 million square meters, 90% of which are located in North America, Europe and Asia, forming a global service network of overseas warehouses; fourth, a variety of formats Integrated development, further integration and linkage of foreign trade functions. For example, Yiwu launched a new cross-border e-commerce bonded import business and created a new export model of “market procurement + cross-border e-commerce”; Hangzhou took the lead in exploring a new model of “bonded import + retail processing”, which added new vitality to the innovative development of foreign trade.
Development bottlenecks and problems
While my country’s cross-border e-commerce industry is developing rapidly, it also faces some bottlenecks and difficulties.
Brand awareness and building capabilities are weak. At present, the brand awareness of my country’s cross-border e-commerce export enterprises is relatively weak. The traditional business idea of winning by “quantity” and “price” leads to the fact that most of the exported products are labor-intensive products manufactured by OEM, with obvious homogeneous competition and relatively meager profits. It is easy to be replaced by later-developing areas with lower cost.
According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs, currently only 17% of cross-border e-commerce exports have their own brands. The ability of exporters to build their own brands and increase product and overall value through brand premium needs to be improved.
The cost efficiency of cross-border logistics needs to be optimized. The characteristics of small batches and high frequency of cross-border e-commerce make cross-border logistics an important aspect for e-commerce enterprises to gain a competitive advantage. At present, cross-border e-commerce companies mainly choose three cross-border logistics modes: international commercial express, dedicated line logistics and overseas warehouses. The first two modes have problems such as high logistics prices, large changes in costs, slow delivery timeliness, unstable capacity guarantees, and difficult return and exchange operations. Enterprises building and using overseas warehouses also face problems such as high warehousing costs, unfamiliarity with local laws and regulations, high labor costs and high inventory pressure.
Cross-border payment and settlement channels need to be further smoothed. Cross-border e-commerce payment settlement has the characteristics of small amount, high frequency and fast response, and needs to be matched with a cross-border payment system with high flexibility, strong convenience, low transaction cost and low operational risk. However, at this stage, my country’s cross-border e-commerce enterprises still face problems such as complex intermediate links, poor compatibility of payment methods, long payment return cycle, large capital occupation, low turnover efficiency, high handling fee prices, and difficulty in guaranteeing payment security. , restricting the further development of cross-border e-commerce.
In addition, we must also focus on compliance development issues. In recent years, some small and medium-sized cross-border e-commerce business entities have lacked compliance awareness, resulting in prominent intellectual property infringement problems. Illegal operations such as brushing orders and brushing good reviews have occurred from time to time, adding more uncertainty to the development of cross-border e-commerce export enterprises. sex.
Promote high-quality development of the industry
In the face of some problems in the development of the cross-border e-commerce industry, we should also increase support and take multiple measures to promote the high-quality development of the industry.
Create a first-class high-quality e-commerce brand. We should change the traditional marketing concept, focus on innovative product research and development, avoid homogeneous products, create a distinctive brand image of Chinese enterprises, and improve brand marketing and management capabilities. Encourage enterprises to use third-party SaaS services to create websites or self-build independent cross-border e-commerce sites, and develop in the direction of vertical B2C and professional B2B. Encourage cross-border e-commerce companies to improve their ability to effectively reach consumers by developing big data on their own or cooperating with third-party platforms.
Improve the global network of overseas warehouses. Encourage cross-border e-commerce companies and logistics companies to actively participate in the construction of overseas warehouses, and accelerate the optimization of overseas warehouse layouts in key markets. Encourage overseas warehouse companies to connect with online platforms to accurately match supply and demand information. Explore the construction of an overseas logistics intelligent platform, provide rich e-commerce application scenarios for digital technologies such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence, and combine intelligent warehouse management systems with intelligent terminals such as automatic sorting equipment to improve the efficiency of warehouse operations. Build a one-stop comprehensive service system for overseas warehousing, so that logistics, warehousing and payment can be highly connected with local resources.
Create a safe and convenient cross-border payment and settlement system. Strengthen multilateral and bilateral financial regulatory information transparency cooperation, and provide a good international environment for cross-border e-commerce trade payment and settlement. Actively promote the layout of financial infrastructure in key regions and international cooperation, assist Chinese financial institutions and third-party payment institutions to go global, and create safe, low-cost, and efficient cross-border payment solutions for cross-border e-commerce. Give full play to the leading role of the cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zone, and promote the use of RMB for cross-border payment and settlement. Explore the application of big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence and other technologies in cross-border payment, reduce the number of transit banks, increase transaction speed, and reduce payment costs.
Improve cross-border e-commerce development support policies. Study and formulate cross-border e-commerce intellectual property protection guidelines to guide cross-border e-commerce platforms to prevent intellectual property risks and counterfeit and shoddy goods. Establish and improve corporate credit rating standards and evaluation systems for cross-border e-commerce platforms, regulate market order, and prevent acts that seriously violate business integrity. Support the establishment of a cross-border e-commerce ecosystem alliance with a complete industrial chain including products, warehousing, data, software, payment, law, etc., to provide support for cross-border e-commerce compliance and efficient operation. Strengthen the guidance and training on compliance operation of cross-border e-commerce enterprises, enhance enterprises’ awareness of law-abiding in intellectual property rights, data security, personal information protection, consumer rights protection, advertising and marketing, import and export trade and taxation, and strengthen internal corporate cooperation. Regulation system construction.
(Source of this article: The author of Economic Daily is Liang Ming, director of the Foreign Trade Research Institute of the Academy of Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce)