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E commerce sales in China surge

BEIJING, Aug 18 – Internet sales in China, the world\’s biggest web market, soared 60 percent on year in the first half, as more consumers and businesses went shopping online, state media said on Wednesday.

Transactions hit 2.25 trillion yuan (331 billion dollars) in the January-June period, the China Daily said, citing a report by the China e-Business Research Centre.

That compares with 3.6 trillion yuan for all of 2009, Qian Xiaoqian, deputy director of the State Council Information Office, was quoted as saying.

The data covers business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer transactions.

E-commerce has been expanding in China as more companies set up online stores to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Underlining the growing appeal of the country\’s Internet market, which now has around 420 million web users, sportswear giant Adidas said this week it had opened a flagship online store on China\’s largest auction site Taobao.

Web sales in China are likely to soar more than 35 percent a year on average in the next few years as more people shop online and more convenient ways of paying for transactions, such as using mobile phones, are made available, Qian said.

There are currently about 130 million online shoppers in China, the report said.

Analysts said the official forecast was conservative.

Liu Ning, an analyst with Internet research firm BDA China, said he expected e-commerce sales to expand by 50 percent or more a year thanks to improvements in service.

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First-half sales on Taobao, for example, were close to that recorded for the full year of 2009, Liu said, without providing a figure.

Web users were becoming more confident shopping online as website platforms, service and logistics for delivering goods improved, he said.

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