Despite an anemic economy, China's e-commerce trade soared in 2014 thanks to improved Internet infrastructure and an increase in cellphone users.
Transaction volume of Chinese shopping websites totaled 16.39 trillion yuan (2.68 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, up 59.4 percent year on year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.
Third-party platforms, like China's largest shopping website Taobao.com, accounted for 44.3 percent, while self-operated stores 55.7 percent, data showed. The country's 20 biggest online websites saw aggregate transactions worth 6.22 trillion yuan, making up around 90 percent of all third-party platforms.
Chinese businesses have turned to the Internet to offload stocked goods in a bid to cut costs and increase profits against economic headwinds, while price-sensitive consumers appreciate online shopping for its convenience and a variety of choices.
NBS official Sun Qingguo said the booming Internet, especially the pervasive mobile network, created an intimate bond between buyers and shopping websites and provided ample space for the development of e-commerce.
China boasted the world's largest 4G network and 361 million online shoppers by the end of 2014.
Stellar growth in e-commerce has lifted online payment and logistics companies as well, Sun said. China overtook the United States to top the world in terms of the business volume in express delivery in 2014.
Sun predicts surging e-commerce will generate fresh consumption demand, prompt a new investment wave and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.
China's central bank has proposed limiting the size of transactions through third-party online payment systems like Alipay to ensure security for consumers' information and money.
Under the proposal released for public consultation on Friday by the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the amount shoppers would be able to spend through third-party online payment per day may be limited to between 1,000 yuan (163.5 U.S. dollars) and 5,000 yuan, depending on how sophisticated the system's security checks are.
While platforms that have both digital certification and signature qualification checks will be exempt from the restrictions, the limit would be set at 1,000 yuan per day if the platform has only one qualification check.
If the system has two or more checks but they do not include digital certification and signature, the limit would be 5,000 yuan.
Where they are spending more than the sum allowed, consumers would be transferred to banking payment platforms to pay the surplus, according to the PBOC proposal.
Meanwhile, consumers whose accounts limit them to shopping payments will be allowed to spend no more than 100,000 yuan per year if the system is adopted. Those with more premium accounts that also allow for services like share purchases would be allowed to spend no more than 200,000 yuan per year.
The regulation is based on surveys of Chinese consumers' average spending via third-party payment platforms last year, according to an unnamed source from the PBOC.
The draft guideline also bans third-party payment platforms from opening accounts for institutions running financial businesses such as online lending firms to avoid risks.
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios for SCE introduces Project Morpheus HMD, the company's latest virtual reality (VR) gear, during a press event held on July 29, 2015 in Shanghai.
A series of new games for Sony's PlayStation 4, PS Vita and virtual reality device Project Morpheus debuted Wednesday at ChinaJoy 2015 in Shanghai.
More than 70 new games will be launched in the Chinese market for PS 4 video game consoles in the coming month, Sony announced.
ChinaJoy, or China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, is the largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition held in the Chinese mainland.
Sony debuted its game console PlayStation 4 in 2013, and started selling the Chinese version on March 20 this year.
Priced at 2,899 yuan ($468) for the basic package and 3,299 yuan for a console plus a camera, the PlayStation Eye, the products are available at Sony Store, Tmall.com and JD.com.
It is the second foreign console allowed to enter the Chinese market after Microsoft launched its Xbox One in late September.
A new rule that allows both foreign and domestic gaming console makers to manufacture and sell their devices anywhere in the country was announced last week, according to a statement from the Ministry of Culture.
Due to government officials' concern over objectionable content, China in 2000 banned gaming consoles via a moratorium. As a result, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, three of the world's largest video game console makers, were shut out of China's lucrative video game industry.
In 2014, the country limited foreign console makers to operations within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in 2014.
Industrial insiders believe that such series of progressive policies could shake up the domestic gaming sector.
According to the working committee of China's audiovisual, digital publishing and game publishing association, in 2014, the sales volume of China's gaming market reached 114.48 billion yuan, up 37.7 percent year-on-year.
In the first half of 2015, the number reached 60.51 billion yuan, up 21.9 percent year-on-year. Since last year, overseas sales volume reached 1.76 billion yuan, reflecting a rapid growth of 121.4 percent.
A model poses with Project Morpheus HMD, Sony's latest virtual reality (VR) gear, during a press event held on July 29, 2015 in Shanghai.
Project Morpheus head-mounted display (HMD)
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios, brought Project Morpheus HMD, the company's latest virtual reality (VR) gear, to the press event to demonstrate their Chinese strategies.
VR, also known as computer-simulated life, first appeared in science fiction in the1950's, and was developed for medical use, pilot simulation and military training in the 1990's.
The entire industry began to draw the public's attention as a developer kit named Oculus Rift, which was the first truly immersive VR headset for video games. It was initially mooted on the US crowd-funding platform Kickstarter by 9,522 backers who pledged more than $2 million.
Sony unveiled their bold VR gamble to the world at the Game Developers Conference in March 2014.
During the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, held in Los Angeles this year, more than 20 demos designed for Project Morpheus were unveiled to the public.
"Summer Lesson", "The Deep", "The Playroom VR" and "Hatsune Miku Expo" will be demonstrated at the ChinaJoy PlayStation booth and visitors will have the chance to experience the Project Morpheus on the spot.
"Many people think that Project Morpheus is an accessory to PS4; the truth is that Project Morpheus is a new system, and both happen to work well together," Yoshida said during a group interview after the press event.
"Project Morpheus is still at version one, Sony is trying its best to bring the product to the fans, we are testing internationally, to make sure the product is improving," he said.
Sony announced at Game Developers Conference 2015 that Morpheus' consumer VR headset is due to ship in Q1 2016.
Yoshida said that the global launch time will the same, but he didn't give a specific date and he also mentioned that the device's price has not been confirmed.
According to Yoshida, PC games can be migrated to Project Morpheus. He noted one example, saying that after refined and optimized the code, a user migrated Oculus games to Project Morpheus within just two days.
Sony London Studios' Director Dave Ranyard, whose team is working heavily with the PS VR headset Project Morpheus, believes that VR HMDs could become the 'technological icon of the age', similar to Sony's Walkman in the 1980's and smartphones in today.
Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Hong Kong-listed Chinese computer technology company Lenovo Group, topped the 2015 Chinese Hong Kong company CEO salary list released by Forbes China, the daily newspaper Beijing Times reported on Wednesday.
Yang was the richest CEO in 2014 with an annual salary of 119 million yuan ($19 million), putting him in first place for the third consecutive year, according to the report.
This year's list included 334 CEOs of companies from the Chinese mainland that are listed in Hong Kong whose annual salaries exceeded 1 million yuan, up 107 from the previous ranking.
Forbes also released a 2015 Chinese A-share company CEO salary list, on which Ma Mingzhe, chairman of Ping An Insurance Co, was in first place with an annual salary of 109 million yuan.
The number of LinkedIn users in China has topped 10 million, a year and a half after the world's largest professional network launched a Chinese version of its online services.
Founded in 2003 in the United States, LinkedIn has more than 300 million users. Before tapping into the Chinese market in February 2014, the company had just 4 million users from China, who registered on its global website.
LinkedIn China chief Derek Shen told reporters Tuesday that measures to boost its presence have included incorporating Twitter-like services Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo into its platform and allowing users to bind their LinkedIn accounts with those on Chinese mobile app WeChat.
"We published more than 20 reports on the job market in China, which provided career advice for job-hunters," Shen said. He added that helping companies like PC maker Lenovo and telecom equipment maker Huawei recruit talent also enhanced its influence.
LinkedIn hopes to further tap growth by launching a job-hunting application for Chinese graduates, many of whom are struggling as a record number of young people search for jobs amid a slowing economy.
China, the world's biggest auto market currently in the throes of slowdown, has become a drag for Volkswagen, which had set a target to outsell Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker by sales volume.
In the first half of this year, Volkswagen's global deliveries shrank 0.5 percent from a year earlier to 5.04 million units as performance in China, its largest sales contributor, fell 3.9 percent to 1.74 million units, the company said yesterday.
That lagged the Chinese market's 1 percent growth in general, which is itself in a dramatic slump from a compound average growth of 16.6 percent from 2005 to 2014.
A 48 percent surge in SUV sales in China was the only bright spot in the first half of this year. And with just one localized SUV in its Volkswagen brand's portfolio here, the wheels of fortune have been on downward spiral for the company.
Sourcing about 30 percent of its sales from China, Volkswagen has a bigger risk exposure from the economic slowdown than its biggest rival Toyota, which accounts for only 10 percent of its sales in China.
Carmakers and dealers are trying to sail through the market downturn together. Volkswagen's Audi brand has set aside a 1.2 billion yuan ($193 million) subsidy plan for its cash-tight dealerships.
Earlier this month, BMW announced up to 2 billion yuan reward package for sales achieved by dealers in the second quarter. That was on top of the 15 percent quarterly sales target reduction.
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