China's e-commerce transactions hit S$2.7t in 2014

BEIJING - China's e-commerce boomed in 2014 with transactions reaching around 13 trillion yuan (S$2.7 trillion), the government said Wednesday, as Beijing looks online for new drivers of growth.

The commerce ministry did not define transactions, beyond saying that the term included both business-to-business and retail transactions.

Spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement that they grew 25.0 per cent year-on-year in 2014.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday that online retail sales alone were at 2.8 trillion yuan in 2014, up 49.7 per cent.

China has the world's biggest online population - 632 million last year - and online shopping has exploded in recent years as consumers turned to the Internet for cheaper products and overseas goods that are believed to be safer than domestic options, such as baby formula.

During its 24-hour shopping promotion Singles Day on November 11, the country's e-commerce giant Alibaba said consumers spent a record US$9.3 billion, up 60 per cent on 2013.

Authorities have said they hope e-commerce will become a new "engine" for growth in the world's second-largest economy, where growth decelerated last year to 7.4 per cent - the lowest in nearly a quarter of a century.

"(Online shopping) generated a great number of jobs. It is an emerging industry and we should support its healthy development," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said last year.