China's Online Market Stronger Than Most Analysts Think

The conventional wisdom has held that China is not likely to embrace E-Commerce, because of the Chinese aversion to credit payments and fears of piracy and poor quality products. But a Forbes story this week makes a powerful argument that E-Commerce—and a credit-card lifestyle in general—will be coming to China very soon and in a big way.

"In interviews the China Market Research Group (CMR) has conducted with 500 young adults between the ages of 18 and 32 in six cities across China, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they had made an online purchase in the last six months. The vast majority expected to buy something again in the next quarter. Seventy percent said they weren't putting aside any money in savings accounts and that they would use a credit card for online purchases if they had one," the story said, adding that the study "suggests it is a lack of credit cards and other payment options, rather than a cultural aversion to buying online, that has curtailed the growth of e-commerce in China. But the problem of payment is resolving itself. Credit card use is booming as domestic banks like Bank of China and China Merchants Bank roll out services targeting consumers in China's smaller cities. We expect the number of credit cards in China to increase fivefold, from 56 million at the end of 2006 to 250 million by the end of 2013."