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  • Novel Coronavirus Accelerates Online Consumption & Distribution in China
    2020-02-12 hit 1515

    Novel Coronavirus Accelerates Online Consumption & Distribution in China

     

    - Online consumption of fresh food and non-face-to-face delivery are skyrocketing Need to work on strategies to expand online distribution channels -

     

    With the spread of the novel coronavirus, Chinese consumers’ consumption patterns and distribution methods are rapidly restructured centering on online.

     

    According to a report titled, Changes in Chinese Consumption Market Caused by Novel  Coronavirus and Implications” issued by the Institute for International Trade (President: Shin Seung-kwan) of the Korea International Trade Association on February 13th, as home-based work and limited outdoor activities are becoming more common nationwide in China, online purchase of daily necessities, online order and delivery from offline stores, non-face-to-face offline delivery, and online purchase of over-the-counter medicines have been skyrocketing.

     

    The purchase of necessities such as fresh food, processed food, and medicines through e-commerce is popular. Vegetable sales via China's e-commerce platform Jingdong increased by 4.5 times compared to the same period of the Chinese New Year holiday last year (January 24th to February 2nd). Orders for fresh food via Beijing Jingkelong Supermarket reached 700,000kg for three days from the New Year's Day and overall delivery orders increased by more than 4.5 times year-on-year.

     

    In addition, large-scale supermarkets, small and medium-sized stores, and traditional markets operated offline are also working with e-commerce platforms to introduce O2O (Online-to-Offline) delivery service. Beijing's upscale restaurant Huajia Yiyuan, which has lost customers since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, is making profit from selling vegetables that are wholesaled to the restaurant through an online order and delivery platform.

     

    Fresh food is no exception. Non-face-to-face and contactless delivery services for all fresh food are widely available. Hema Xiansheng, Ele.me and others share the delivery information via text and apps, and provide the services that deliver only to designated locations such as the front of the house, the entrance, and the front desk. At the same time, smart distribution methods using artificial intelligence and robots such as unmanned autonomous robots, unmanned logistics, and unmanned supermarkets are in the spotlight.

     

    In order to curb the spread of novel coronavirus, the Chinese government has also requested each province and city to expand the e-commerce distribution channels for fresh food by strengthening producer-seller matching service.  Furthermore, the Chinese government is promoting smooth supply of consumer goods and stabilization of the market by announcing ‘green channel’ policy which prohibits activities that obstruct traffic of daily necessities delivery vehicles and strengthening market price monitoring.

     

    Park So-young, a senior researcher at the Institute for International Trade, said, “Like the SARS outbreak resulted in the rapid growth of e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and Jingdong 17 years ago, the novel coronavirus is bringing another big change to the Chinese consumer market, and stressed, When the next-generation technologies such as unmanned delivery and telemedicine become commercially available in China, online consumption is expected to expand further. Therefore, it is necessary to expand direct online distribution channels by actively utilizing China's major mobile platforms.


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