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Untapped online potential awaits in China

The enormity of the Chinese e-commerce opportunity was mentioned last week by Wan Ling Martello at Walmart’s shareholders meeting, when the COO of global e-commerce described how China’s online market is projected to quadruple to $300 billion in five years. Walmart obviously wants to be part of that growth and looked to shorten its learning curve earlier this year by acquiring a minority stake in fast growing online grocer Yihaodian. Now, a new study offers a glimpse of the potential awaiting those companies best able to deliver a superior online experience coupled with fast, accurate and efficient delivery options.

The most telling statistic in the study conducted by the online measurement firm comScore is that only 5% of the total minutes Internet users in greater China spent online during April was spent on sites in the retail category. Chinese Internet users spent far more time on Internet portals (24.4%), entertainment sites, (9%) search/navigation sites (6.2%) and social media (5.5%).

“The digital environment is constantly growing and evolving and no place is greater proof of this than greater China,” said Xinyu Huang, comScore’s newly appointed SVP greater China.

Analysis of the most-visited sites across these categories showed Tencent Inc., leading as the top Portal in Greater China reaching 64.4% of all Internet users in the market. Online video provider Youku Inc., led as the largest entertainment site reaching 19.2% of online users, while Baidu.com Inc., ranked as the largest search/navigation property reaching 59.4% of web users. Oak Pacific Interactive Sites, which includes Renren.com, led as the most-visited social networking destination in greater China reaching 17.8%t of unique visitors, while Alibaba.com held the top spot among retail destinations reaching 36.5% of visitors.

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