The growth of China’s consumer e-commerce sector is breathtaking, doubling year on year. On-line shopping is more than a trend; it is a phenomenon. But it took a while for things to take off. It was not until two fundamentally Chinese business essentials were addressed — the benefits and reassurance of scale, low price as the ultimate competitive weapon — that an inflection point was crossed.
Early days were not promising. Counterfeits were rampant. Credit card penetration was low. Chinese buyers, a kick-the-tire cohort if there ever was one — were (and still are) suspicious of “virtual” transactions.