New research has suggested that a colossal 220 million people are now buying things online in China.

With the country fast growing into an economic powerhouse, this comes as little surprise – with eMarketer’s research showing the enormous figure dwarfed the 150 million online buyers in America.

According to their research paper “China Ecommerce: A Developing Marker Begins to Boom”, by 2016 423.4 million Chinese people over the age of 14 will be using the internet to do shopping online at least once a year.

This growth is also expected to be reflected in the business to consumer ecommerce sales the country makes, with a rise to almost $107.5 billion expected this year.

This is a huge amount which is 94.1% higher than recorded last year, and one that could see the Chinese ecommerce market rapidly overtake the Japanese market and even possibly dislodge the UK as number two in the world by 2013.  However experts predict this spurt of growth will slow down by 2016 to around 22.8%.

At present China is currently ranked fourth globally in regards to ecommerce sales.

When considering ecommerce in China however, it is also important to remember it has a few peculiarities. Firstly, the market for pirated and counterfeited goods is still considerable, and in addition many brands are still not available beyond Tier 2 cities – meaning that online purchases are often the only way people in these areas can ‘get the goods’.

Furthermore, due to the nature of search engine restrictions in the country, many of the Chinese shoppers do not use the search engines themselves to find their products, instead they use an online retailer, for example Taobao which in 2010 accounted for almost 80% of the entire countries ecommerce.

This means that it is quite hard for foreign companies to get a foothold into the country’s market as many local firms have already firmly established market domination. In particular do to the Chinese market having a tendency to favour shopping at a site directly as opposed to through a search engine, it makes multilingual search marketing a pretty challenging task, but one which firms are already embracing knowing the potential China offers.

News brought to you by ClickThrough – experts in SEO, PPC, Multilingual Search Marketing and Website Conversion Enhancement services.

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