Guidelines focus on e-commerce, express delivery sector and safety of personal information
China is focusing on laying solid foundations for the healthier development of its new economic drivers, as the General Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a guideline on concerted development of the e-commerce and express delivery industry on Jan 23.
It was made clear in the guideline that a comprehensive and better regulated data-sharing system is expected to be set up among e-commerce and delivery businesses, while data protection will be strengthened.
While both businesses are developing quickly, they have become increasingly intertwined in recent years. Yet contradictions remain in regulations governing the two industries, limiting the development of both, the guideline said, introducing the background for the slew of new measures.
The new guideline requires synergized efforts from various ministries, including the Ministry of Commerce, the State Post Bureau, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Transport.
Rules on data sharing and protection in both e-commerce and delivery services will be more comprehensive and inclusive. Risk evaluation systems will be set up regarding issues such as miscommunication and loss of data. Data and other information in the two industries will be better exchanged and shared to improve efficiency as long as consumers' personal information is protected, according to the guideline.
According to a statement released by the Department of International Commerce and Information under the Ministry of Commerce, the ministry has conducted trial runs for the concerted development of e-commerce and delivery sectors in 11 cities, and this had resulted in valuable experience, especially in co-ordinating the sharing of information and data.
The statement said that the guideline aims to put the lessons learned from these experiences to good use when the improvements are rolled out across the country.
Ouyang Cheng, a researcher on the international development of e-commerce at the Ali Research Institute, said the guideline will help the two industries to become more regulated and lay a solid foundation because the market in both areas is huge and has recorded enormous growth.
"E-commerce accounted for 40 percent of e-business around the globe in 2017, and with our robust momentum, China is likely to account for half of e-businesses worldwide within one or two years," Ouyang said.
"With such fast development, it is important to improve related regulations to make sure that market growth is stable and healthy." Ouyang believes the reason the central government is concentrating efforts to improve guidelines is that China will be able to be the leading market in this field.
"China has embraced a robust development of both e-commerce and related logistics, and we have quite a lot of experience to share with other countries in this regard. But to do this, we need not only to lead in the quantity of business, but more importantly, to have a well regulated and healthy market," Ouyang said.
A report released by China E-Commerce Research Center last September shows that the trade volume of China's e-commerce market reached 13.35 trillion yuan (.03 trillion) in the first half of 2017, up 27.1 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, China's e-commerce service enterprises have directly provided 3.1 million jobs, and indirectly more than 23 million jobs, by June, 2017.
"E-commerce, logistics or delivery and finance are the most important elements for developing business," he said.
According to Ouyang, the gap between the data information and e-commerce and logistics has not been filled.
"One problem that exists in the express delivery industry is that delivery businesses owners are unwilling to share their data resources with e-businesses providers for fear of information leaks," he said.