Pingtan eyes expanded role across Straits
By Sunli and Hu Meidong in Pingtan, Fujian ( China Daily )
Pingtan, Fujian province is banking on its newly opened e-commerce channel to play a big role in cross-Straits e-commerce trade.
The city launched cross-border e-commerce services on Nov 5, making it the sixth city on the Chinese mainland to pilot cross-border e-commerce services. On Jan 2, the General Administration of Customs gave Pingtan the green light for the pilot program. Prior to Pingtan, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Zhengzhou had already started pilot programs in cross-border e-commerce.
Lin Xinlu, deputy director of the Pingtan Cross-border E-commerce Office, said Pingtan is different from the other pilot cities, given its proximity to Taiwan.
"As the closest point to Taiwan on the mainland, Pingtan can play a big role in reducing logistics costs," Lin said, adding the high-speed liner Haixia linking Pingtan and Taiwan's Taipei and Taichung contributes to fast delivery.
Pingtan has implemented a series of preferential policies for cross-Straits trade, including the right to bring in duty-free Taiwan products of up to 6,000 yuan ($980), covering six types of Taiwan products that include grain, oil, and farm products, which may attract more companies to be engaged in the business, Lin said.
Lin Mingxu, an official with Pingtan Customs, said e-commerce firms can prepare more products in advance to save costs for consumers and keep track of the whole logistics processes. Customs clearance is fast and takes just five minutes, he said.
Cui Kai, a manager with e-commerce company osell.com, said the Pingtan platform has helped reduce logistics costs by 30 percent. "Prior to this, most of the goods from Fujian province had to be delivered by air, which is rather costly," Cui said.
Chen Chun-ho, assistant manager with an e-commerce company based in Taipei, said most of the products that the mainland customers ordered from overseas stores were delivered from Taiwan, as Taiwan has rich experiences in developing bonded area and serves as an international e-commerce hub.
The proximity to Taiwan suggests further potential for Pingtan to develop cross-border e-commerce, Chen said.
Li Dejin, director of the administrative committee of the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, said to create a good environment for cooperation between cross-Straits e-commerce enterprises, Pingtan will make innovations in logistics and customs clearance based on the model of the Shanghai cross-border e-commerce zone.