Duty free e-commerce zones were established in China late 2013 in order to make it easier for Chinese consumers to order from foreign websites. Some two years later it is safe to say that the zones have become a success. So far online retailers from outside of China have shipped 100 million orders of a value at over $2 billion into China via the zones, Internet Retailer reports.
Fast Deliveries Without Extra Fees
The zones make it possible for Chinese consumers to receive goods from foreign websites without having to pay expensive fees and foreign companies can send their products to China without them having to go through Chinese customs.
- From the time the trial started at the end of 2013 to November 2015, we have inspected and processed 100 million parcels in seven cities in the trial, including Shanghai, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where the Chinese government is testing a new way of importing goods. In some cities, custom workers have worked 24 hours a day to speed up the clearance of imported products, a spokesman for Chinese customs authority General Administration of Customs of China said in a press meeting, according to IR.
The zones also allow consumers to import products that are not normally allowed for sale in China, such as cosmetics that have not undergone animal testing. The rule is that each Chinese consumer can only import products for his or her own personal use, and not for selling to others.
Available in 10 Chinese Cities
Retailers who are interested in using the zones can store products in a duty free warehouse, and then transfer it onwards to the customer when a purchase is made.
- Since the information about products has been reported to customs, e-retailers can ship the products much faster through customs after consumers place the orders, said Li Pengbo, CEO of China Cross-border E-commerce Research Center, a consulting company.
According to IR, Amazon, Alibaba and Costco Wholesale Corp are among the global e-commerce businesses which have made use of the cross border e-commerce zones. In 2015 the Chinese government added three new cities - Fuzhou, Pingtan and Tianjin - to the e-commerce zone trial which now includes 10 Chinese cities.