The State Council has approved the establishment of the China (Hangzhou) pilot zone for overseas e-commerce in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province. Hangzhou is home to China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The proposal was suggested by Zhejiang province and the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) and got approved on March 12.

According to a written reply issued by the State Council, the pilot zone will take the lead in developing a suitable system and rules for overseas e-commerce in China, so the sector in other regions can learn from it. It will explore ways to set standards on various aspects of the e-commerce sector, including transactions, payments, logistics, customs clearance, tax refunds and exchange settlements. In addition, the State Council said that national, cyber and transaction security as well as the quality of products should be guaranteed.

Zhejiang provincial government was asked to strongly support the zone, build a system to record the zone’s information and promptly apply for approval of issuing significant policies. MOC was ordered to monitor the performance of pilot zone and file reports to the State Council.

E-commerce has long been a platform for innovation. With China’s demands for overseas products growing rapidly, overseas e-commerce has gained attention from the State Council. It brings opportunities for China’s e-commerce companies as well as foreign companies who want to grab a share of huge Chinese market.

This step is particularly interesting as e-commerce in China was always quite difficult for foreigners, as they had to deal with the ICP license system, not only for operating a website, but also a special ICP license for operating a webshop. It is yet to be seen if this pilot will make things easier, or if foreign companies are (still) suggested to make use of existing e-commerce platforms.

Source: State Council

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