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E-commerce, digital content rise as virus outbreak takes hold in China

Feb 19. 2020
TPSO’s director-general, Pimchanok Vonkorpon
TPSO’s director-general, Pimchanok Vonkorpon
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By The Nation

The Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) says e-commerce and digital content are gaining ground in China amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, TPSO’s director-general, said the trends of e-commerce and digital content were gathering momentum as Chinese people tended to stay home during the crisis.

“E-Commerce is an important trade channel that will boost exports of agricultural products and foods to meet lifestyle at home,” she said. “Thai products’ quality and appearance will help maintain trade opportunity during this period”.

According to JD.com, the largest retailer in China, orders for rice and daily products increased over 154 per cent in January year or year with most people opting for delivery. Meanwhile, many restaurants have adapted to the situation on their application platforms, such as extending the distance of food delivery, selling frozen and instant foods, and expand their distribution channels to supermarkets.

State Post Bureau of China recently held a meeting with seven transportation companies (Zhongtong, Yuantong, Shentong, Yunda, Best, Debang, and Suning) in preparation for an expansion of logistics service to meet demand from online shopping.

Digital content, said Pimchanok, has also grown and expanded trading.

"According to the statistics, Chinese people were turning to online activities, such as games, exercising through application and medical consult services," she said.

This is a good period for Thailand to penetrate the digital content market, as well as promoting Thai products, culture, and tourism online to increase awareness and stimulate demand for Thai products and services, she said.

"Port, customs, and other authorities in China reopened on February 10, except in Hubei province. We expect it may take two to four weeks to deliver export products that were left stranded in Thailand," she said.

"As the situation remains uncertain, Thai exporters must coordinate with local partners to arrange appropriate routes for deliveries and refrigerated containers to store perishable items."

She explained that the world is monitoring the progress in containing the coronavirus epidemic and its impacts on the global economy and trade.

"The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) estimated that the epidemic would be under control within the first quarter, while the Chinese economy will expand 5.4 per cent this year," she said.

"TPSO expects that Chinese government will issue economic stimulus measures to offset a economic slowdown and maintain recovery momentum".

She added that more than 62 Commercial Affairs offices in 42 countries worldwide have submitted reports to the Ministry of Commerce, informing exporters about the situation in each country and ways to adjust exports”.

In 2019, exports from Thailand to China totalled US$29.172 billion. China is the main market for Thai agricultural products and foods, such as rubber, cassava, frozen and dried fruits, and frozen chicken. The major destinations were Guangdong (28 per cent), Shanghai (26 per cent), and Shandong (14 per cent).

In 2020, the Ministry of Commerce plans to further penetrate the Chinese market to drive Thailand's export potential, especially in key items: frozen and dried fruits, frozen chicken, cosmetics, cars and components, motorcycles, and rubber products.

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