Business / Macro

Cross-border e-commerce a boost for China-Turkey ties

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-10-15 15:16

BEIJING - Cross-border e-commerce is now playing a bigger role in China-Turkey economic ties as bilateral trade struggled with sluggish global growth and Turkey's domestic turmoil.

"We saw opportunities despite the crisis and expanded our business in Turkey while others adopted a wait-and-see approach, following a failed military coup in July and the ongoing civil war in neighboring Syria," Hou Yibing, BD manager for Turkey of, a leading Chinese cross-border B2B e-commerce platform, told Xinhua on Friday.

"Our moves were bold, but should not be considered foolhardy, since we had undertaken a raft of research for our Internet-based business," said Hou, taking note of the growing number of e-commerce users and online sales revenue in Turkey.

It is estimated that there are 15.42 million e-commerce users in Turkey, accounting for one third of its total online community or about a fifth of its population, according to Hou.

World Bank data from 2015 showed that over 57 percent of Turkish are Internet users, making it the world's 18th in number terms and its Internet penetration rate is the seventh highest.

Turkey's Internet penetration rate grew over 10 percent for both 2014 and 2015, showing great development potential of its Internet industry.

By 2020, online retail sales will at least double from 2015 to hit $36 billion, according to a report released by Turkish Weekly.

China and Turkey signed the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on e-commerce bilateral trade in November 2015 at the G20 summit in Turkish city Antalya. It concerned the Online Silk Road, part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to connect China and other countries along the ancient land and maritime Silk Roads.

According to the MOU, China and Turkey vowed to work together to develop not only the infrastructure to make cross-border e-commerce trade possible and accessible to their SMEs, but to construct a fully functioning ecosystem for the SMEs.

"As one of the MOU's initiators and facilitators, is delighted to advance bilateral economic and trade cooperation with Turkey," said Diane Wang, founder and CEO of

In Wang's eyes, Turkey is an essential partner of China in the implementation of the Belt and Road, and a major player that will help invigorate the Eurasian economy.

Trade between China and Turkey spans 2,000 years. Bilateral trade went from $1 billion in 2000 to $2.77 billion in 2014.

In 2015, China-Turkey trade volume dropped 1.8 percent year on year to $2.72 billion, but the decline is lower than China's 7-percent overall trade fall for the year.

Both nations are looking to increase trade growth by embracing new innovative business models.

Wang believed cross-border e-commerce could play an increasingly important role in economic ties between China and Turkey in the long run, as Internet technology substantially changes people's lives.

"For the time being, high tariffs and concerns about commodity quality are major obstacles to promoting bilateral e-commerce," said Hou, BD manager, who called for "green channel" from governments to facilitate cross-border trade.

Founded in 2004, has approximately 10 million global buyers from 230 countries and regions, with 1.2 million global sellers offering 33 million products.

China is Turkey's largest source of imports and the 18th largest export destination in 2015, Ministry of Commerce data showed.

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