中国互联网:电子商务的长征之路

FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT(英国经济学人智库)

 

China Internet: The long march to e-commerce

 

By Alice Woudhuysen

China is known the world over as a leading producer of electronic equipment and high tech goods. But when it comes to the buying and selling products over the internet, the country is still in its infancy.

众所周知,中国是世界上最大的电子设备及高科技产品加工制造基地。但网络购买和销售产品,该国仍处于萌芽阶段。

In a country famous for its government-led plans, this month saw an entirely new one when the Chinese government rolled out its first e-commerce development plan. Dubbed the “E-Commerce Development Plan during the 11th Five-Year Period,” the plan aims for China to have a basic support systems and technical services to support the development of e-commerce nationwide within three years.

在该国有名的政府主导计划里,中国政府出台了第一个全新的电子商务发展计划。被称为十一五期间的电子商务发展规划。该计划的目标是,在三年内,建立一个基础支持系统和技术服务系统,以便服务于全国电子商务的发展。

By 2010, according to China‘s bureaucrats, e-commerce will become an “important industry” and e-commerce applications should promote the “dramatic growth of economic and social development in China.” Given the state of the country’s internet network to date, this could be a very tall order indeed.

根据中国官方的预计,到2010年,电子商务将成为一个重要产业,并且电子商务的应用将会促进中国经济显著增长和社会发展。但是就目前整个国家的互联网络发展水平来看,这是一个非常苛刻的要求。

On the plus side, internet usage has grown rapidly in China over the past ten years. The EIU predicts that by the end of 2007, China will have more than 140m internet users and that within the next few years it will overtake the US as the country with the most internet users in the world. However, in terms of e-commerce, China remains at the starting blocks.

从积极的一面看,过去的十年,中国互联网使用快速增长。Economist Intelligence Unit预测,到2007年底中国将会有超过1.4亿,在未来的几年内将会取代美国成为世界上互联网用户最多的国家。然而,就电子商务来说,中国仍处于起步阶段。

According to China-based IT consultancy Analysys International, China’s retail e-commerce sales reached US$657m in 2006 and may triple to US$1.25bn in 2010. By comparison, the US Department of Commerce estimates that US retail e-commerce sales reached US$122bn in 2006 and are growing at over 20% annually.

易观国际公司的中国信息产业咨询数据显示,2006年中国电子商务零售额达到6.57亿美元,预计到2010年可以翻三倍达到10.25亿美元。相比之下,2006年美国电子商务零售额为1220亿美元,美国商务部估计以后将以每年20%的速度增长。

China’s e-commerce is lagging behind most developed markets because it is hindered by a lack of policies, a proper credit system and poor logistics. The new e-commerce development plan should help to tackle these problems. And, while China should not expect to catch up with the US in terms of market share, it can expect to benefit from US internet companies investing in China.

中国电子商务落后于大部分发达的市场,主要是由于它受制于其国内政策的缺乏,缺少合适的信用交易系统和落后的物流保障体系。此项新出台的电子商务计划应更加着眼于解决这些问题。同时,中国也不应该期望追赶美国,与美国争夺市场份额,只能期望在美国投资中国互联网公司中获益。

A nascent B2B market

新生的B2B市场

According to a report by Chinese market research and advisory firm China Center for Information Industry Development Consulting (CCID Consulting), the trade volume of China’s e-commerce – which includes business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C) and consumer to consumer (C2C) – grew by 52% in 2006. However, whilst 99% of China’s 42 million companies are small and medium-sized, only 3% of them made deals over the internet in 2006.

中国市场调查咨询公司信息产业发展中心咨询部的一项报告显示,包括企业对企业,企业对消费者,消费者对消费者在内的中国电子商务交易量在2006年增长了52%。然而,中国4200万的企业中有99%是中小规模企业,仅有3%的企业能够通过互联网做生意。

Conversely, in the US, B2B e-commerce is progressing rapidly, with the US Census Bureau estimating that over 94% of all e-commerce can be classified as B2B. According to an end-2003 review from the Institute for Supply Management and US market research firm Forrester, 85% of large US companies use the internet to purchase materials and services.

相反,美国的企业对企业电子商务发展非常迅速。据美国人口经济普查局估计,超过94%的电子商务可以归为B2B类型。供应管理学会和美国市场调查公司2003年底的一份评论显示,85%的美国大公司通过互联网购买原料和服务。

As the EIU’s 2007 e-readiness rankings suggest, China is actually a beneficiary of the growth of B2B volumes in the US. The result has been the creation of big, sophisticated B2B transaction service providers, including one of the world’s largest online B2B marketplaces, Alibaba.

EIU2007年电子化整备度的排名显示,中国确实在美国B2B 业务增长中受益。促使中国出现了大型而成熟的B2B交易服务提供商,包括世界上最大的在线B2B市场之一的阿里巴巴。

US portal Yahoo! bought a 40% stake in Alibaba for US$1bn in 2005. Today, over 15m business and consumer customers in China use Alibaba’s online platform. While most do not pay to use basic services, more than 100,000 businesses do. The Chinese firm is evolving into a comprehensive supplier of online business development resources for Chinese customers: many of whom would not be doing business online at all if not for Alibaba.

美国门户网站雅虎,在2005年以10亿美元购买阿里巴巴40%的股份。现在超过1500万的商家和消费者使用阿里巴巴网上交易平台。而大部分的商家,超过10万买卖交易不会为网站的基本服务支付费用。这个中国公司正在演变成一个面向中国客户的网络商业资源的综合服务供应商:如果不是阿里巴巴,很多中国客户根本不会在网上做生意。

An inefficient credit system

低效的信用体系

E-commerce platform vendor Art Technology Group (ATG) suggests that only 24% of China’s internet users currently shop online. Although the Chinese government is eager to increase B2C e-commerce, it largely depends on credit card purchases, and it is very difficult for the average Chinese citizen to get hold of a credit card.

电子商务平台提供商ATG显示目前仅有24%的中国互联网用户通常在网上购物。虽然中国政府意欲增加B2C的电子商务,但是他很大程度上依靠信用卡支付购买,而对于普通中国公民很难得到信用卡。

Countrywide, it generally takes more than a month to obtain a credit card in China as the banking system remains highly inefficient. Individuals spend a long time dealing with an inefficient system of credit checks and sub-par service, where consumers regularly have to wait in two-hour long queues to see a bank teller.

就全国范围来看,由于银行系统非常低效,通常要一个多月才能获得一张信用卡。由于信用核实和低水平的服务,消费者也要花费大量时间,通常是定期的排长队等待2小时以在银行业务柜台处理账单。

In 2004 there were just 10m cards in circulation in China. Although 2006 saw the addition of 15.6m credit cards, there are still fewer than 50m credit cards in circulation for an emerging middle class of 250m. And even those fortunate enough to have a credit card find that their cards lack viable credit limits because of Chinese banks ’ weak risk-management departments.

2004年仅有1千万张信用卡在使用。2006年新增了1560万张信用卡使用,但对于新兴的2亿5千万的中产阶级来说,仍然只有不到5千万的信用卡在使用。由于中国银行业薄弱的风险管理,即便对拥有信用卡的幸运者,也缺乏可行的信用额度。

However, this situation is beginning to change. Banks such as China Merchants Bank (CMB) are pushing hard to develop credit cards for use in online transactions. CMB, which is the market leader, is also coming up with co-branded credit cards to appeal to younger Chinese customers. To date, it has forged relationships with Young Card, Bertelsmann, Hello Kitty, MSN mini, Ctrip (CTRP) and Air China (AIRYY) to name a few. Given that an estimated 90% of all online shoppers in China are under 40, this should be lucrative for both banks and online retail sites.

这样的境况开始转变。银行例如招商银行,开始着力于开发信用卡的网上交易使用。招商银行首先开发出一种联名卡用于吸引年轻的中国消费者。迄今,招商银行已经推出young卡,贝塔斯曼书友信用卡,Hello Kitty粉丝信用卡,MSN珍藏版迷你信用卡,携程旅行信用卡,国航知音信用卡等等,这里只能简单列举几个。假设估计有90%的中国网上购物者是40岁以下,那推出这些联名信用卡对银行和网络商家都是有利可图的。

China’s financial services market is also opening its doors to global banks such as Citibank, Standard Chartered and HSBC, which are all buying stakes in Chinese banks. In October 2006, GE Money (the consumer and small business financial services unit of General Electric) invested US$100m in Shenzhen Development Bank (SDB) and launched a credit card with the bank and Wal-Mart.

中国金融服务市场正对全球银行打开大门,比如花旗银行,渣打银行和汇丰银行,都在购买中国的银行股票。200610月,通用电气斥资1亿美元投资深圳发展银行,并推出与沃尔玛的联名信用卡。

Online trust

网络信任

Even with a better credit system, the success or failure of e-commerce strategies is linked to the issue of online trust. According to a survey produced by US-based research and advisory company in August 2006, even in the US, nearly half of online adults said that concerns about theft of information, data breaches or internet-based attacks affected their purchasing payment, online transaction or e-mail behaviour. The financial cost of this mistrust in e-commerce was approximately US$2bn in 2006. Gartner also estimates that US$913m in 2006 e-commerce sales were lost because of security concerns among online shoppers.

即便更好的信用系统,电子商务战略的成功与失败与网络信任问题有关。根据美国的研究咨询公司20068月的一项调查,即便在美国将近一半的成人网络用户担心信息失窃,数据窃取,网络攻击,这影响他们购买支付,网上交易和电子通信行为。电子商务中这类不信任的财务成本在2006年大约20亿美元。顾能公司估计2006年有9.13亿美元的电子商务销售额流失就是因为在线购物者的安全担忧。

China’s problem is that it lacks an online payment system for handling credit card transactions in a safe and efficient manner, meaning that only about one in three online purchases is made using a credit card. The remainder are paid with cash on delivery or post office transfers. What is clear is that the government needs to develop a better online payment system and encourage e-commerce sites to support multiple payment models which allow greater flexibility when purchasing goods.

中国的问题是,缺乏一个安全而有效的在线支付系统处理信用卡交易,意味着只有1/3的在线购买是由信用卡来完成的。其余的2/3交易都是货到付款或者邮政汇款。显然政府需要建立一个更好的在线支付系统来鼓励网上商家使用多种支付模式,使得购买时更加方便灵活。

Another issue linked to online trust are the products themselves. Home-grown internet retailers offer a limited product selection, of which the quality is often suspect. In March this year for example, online book store Dangdang.com was forced to apologise to a publishing house for selling pirated books online. Incidences like these lower consumer confidence, thus hindering e-commerce growth.

网络信任的另一个问题是商品本身。本土网络零售商的商品选择有限,质量也常常遭质疑。今年3月,当当网上书店因售卖盗版书而向一出版公司道歉。这样的事件会降低消费者信任,阻碍电子商务的发展。

Poor logistics

薄弱的物流保障体系

Also hampering China’s e-commerce growth are its poor logistic and distribution networks, which restrict how far apart sellers and buyers can be, thus making sending purchased items difficult.

阻碍中国电子商务发展的还有其薄弱的物流配送网络。它限制了买卖双方的距离,使得送货很困难。

US internet retailers such as Amazon are helping to remedy the situation. In June this year, Amazon invested more capital into its Chinese e-commerce operation Joyo.com. It introduced some of the features of its worldwide sites to the Chinese market to boost its performance, offering free shipping on all orders and providing customer-specific purchase recommendations. It has also increased its stake in Joyo.com, which subsequently changed its name to Joyo/Amazon.

美国网上零售商亚马逊正在帮助解决这种情况。今年6月,亚马逊追加投资卓越网。为中国市场引进其全球网站的特点,对所有订单提供免费送货,对每位顾客购买征询改进建议,以提高它的业绩。在增加了在卓越网中的股份后,相应也更名为卓越亚马逊网。

Amazon first invested in Joyo.com in 2004, when it was generally considered to be China’s leading B2C provider. According to Analysys International, the Chinese website Dangdang.com appears to have grown faster than Joyo/Amazon in terms of registered users. Dangdong.com now has 18% share of the B2C market, whilst Joyo/Amazon has 12% and Cncard.com has just 6%.

2004年亚马逊首次投资于卓越网,逐渐被看作中国B2C模式的领先提供者。易观国际数据显示,就注册用户来说当当网比卓越亚马逊增长快。当当网拥有18%B2C市场份额,卓越亚马逊有12%的市场份额,云网仅占6%

Although these are the top three service providers, they control only 36% of the B2C market. The rest of the market is occupied by a huge number of small-scale B2C vendors, which look unlikely to benefit from foreign investment.

虽然这是头三甲的网上商业公司,但他们仅占B2C市场的36%。其余市场份额由大量小规模的B2C商家所占有,而这些商家不太可能从外国投资者处获益。

Foreign investors

外国投资者

Foreign internet retailers are eager to establish their operations in China. Websites such as Google, Yahoo, eBay and MySpace are all trying to break into the fast-growing China market. eBay acquired Chinese shopping site Eachnet in 2003 and Japan’s Rakuten has invested in Ctrip. However, local players like Baidu, NetEase, Alibaba and Alibaba’s Taobao auction site are still dominating their Western rivals.

外国互联网经营者企望在中国运营自己的业务。如Google, Yahoo, eBay, MySpace都设法打开快速增长的中国市场。在2003eBay收购了中国购物网站意趣。日本的乐天(Rakuten)投资于携程旅行网。也有本地网络运营商,像百度,网易,阿里巴巴以及阿里巴巴旗下的淘宝拍卖网相比西方来的对手,仍然占据本土市场的优势。

This is encouraging for China, which may not want to rely too heavily on the US for e-commerce success. However, by remaining open to the US, and by the US remaining open to China, both countries look set to benefit. US companies will gain entry to China’s growing e-commerce market, whilst transferring new technology, operational expertise and business knowledge to China.

令人鼓舞的是中国并不想过于依赖于美国电子商务的成功。通过保持对美国的开放和美国对中国的开放,两国可以互惠互利。美国公司可以在高速增长的中国电子商务市场获利,同时转移过来的新技术,运营专家和经营知识理念带给中国。

China can still do a lot on its own. Once it has rolled out its e-commerce development plan and improved its credit system and logistics, this should increase online trust. This, in turn, should successfully increase online spending.

中国仍然有大量需要自己做的工作。在铺开电子商务发展计划,规范和改善信用交易体系和物流体系后,就能够增强网上信任和安全。这样就会成功地增加网上购物。

It might be worth questioning how big a role the government can take in all this considering that the e-commerce market in China is dominated by private sector companies. However, the plan does highlight the government’s awareness of the huge potential of e-commerce and its determination to enhance, not block, its development.

中国电子商务市场是由私营性的公司主导,那么在其发展中政府扮演何种角色,能够发挥多大作用值得置疑和思考。无论如何,这项计划的出台显示出政府已经意识到电子商务的巨大发展潜力和试图加强发展的决心。

Source: http://globaltechforum.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=rich_story&doc_id=11038&%20title=China:%20The+long+march+towards+e-commerce&categoryid=30&channelid=4 ­

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