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China opens sea shipping for overseas direct purchase in e-shopping push

An eastern Chinese port city on Friday saw the arrival of the country’s first parcels booked through overseas direct purchase and transported by sea.

The arrival of nearly 6,000 South Korean parcels in Qingdao, Shandong province, shows China and South Korea’s ambitions to tap into the potential for bilateral e-commerce.

China introduced the direct purchase importation model in 2014 to ensure quicker customs clearing for foreign goods purchased by Chinese online shoppers in the “Haitao” market, which allows direct purchase of foreign goods that are unavailable or exorbitantly priced in China.

Prior to the launch of the sea shipping service for overseas direct purchase, most parcels were transported via air or mail routes.

Customs officials in Qingdao say the short marine distance between Shandong and South Korea — 340 nautical miles — means transportation only takes about 17 hours and Chinese consumers can have the parcels in two or three days after placing their order.

China’s e-commerce has seen explosive growth in recent years. Online retail sales racked up 2.6 trillion yuan in 2014, up 41 percent, and cross-border trade by e-commerce companies is forecast to reach 6.5 trillion yuan in 2016.

However, South Korea’s Joongang Daily reported that South Korea only accounted for less than 1 percent of China’s Haitao market, thus, the government and business sectors were eager to make more from the market boost by China-S. Korea free trade area.

On Wednesday, e-commerce giant Alibaba said it would launch logistic service in South Korea to make it easier for Chinese consumers to purchase commodities from South Korean sellers. Enditem

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