E-commerce is expected to prop up China's sluggish exports under a new customs arrangement in the southern city of Shenzhen that facilitates easy foreign exchange settlement and export rebate.
Under the new arrangement by Shekou Customs, e-commerce companies can legally export their goods through customs at low cost and receive export rebates quickly, according to Oliver Wu, general manager of CSCM e-Commerce Services Ltd.
"About 50 e-commerce companies have registered with us to test the export procedure and we expect business will boom in August."
He also said they expect "more retailers and manufacturers will launch online business targeting overseas buyers in the second half of this year as the custom clearance has been worked out."
CSCM e-Commerce Services Ltd., a joint venture between China Merchants Bonded Logistics and Hong Kong-based Cargo Services, runs an online platform focused on import and export involving e-commerce companies.
Wu said small e-commerce companies previously exported most of their goods - generally of small quantities and of relatively low value, but involving different kinds of goods - by post rather than the customs channels. He also said that bigger companies set up branches in Hong Kong to make the foreign exchange settlement easier.
Official figures show that online exports of Chinese companies exceeded 140 billion yuan in 2002, of which more than half were exported from Shenzhen.
"We are more confident in developing a world top e-business industry in the Qianhai economic zone with the new arrangement. We aim for an output of more than 100 billion yuan in the near future," said Liu Xiao, director of the bonded management section of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone.