China’s employment driven by e-commerce is projected to exceed 48 million jobs in 2018, said ASKCI, a professional industry market research and enterprise consultation service provider.
In 2017, jobs brought by e-commerce in China reached 42.5 million, a year-on-year growth of 13 percent, while the country’s total employment for the same period was 776.4 million. That means one in 18 Chinese workers is employed in e-commerce or related industries. The huge employment figures are driven by the rapid expansion of the e-commerce industry. In 2017, China’s e-commerce transactions totaled 29.16 trillion yuan ($4.56 trillion), a year-on-year growth of 11.7 percent. In the same period, the country’s online retail sales reached 7.18 trillion yuan, up by 32.2 percent since the previous year.
Jobs created by e-commerce have upgraded traditional industries. Large new business models driven by “traditional industry plus digital” have produced great new employment opportunities, said Mao Risheng, a researcher with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. E-commerce has also become an important new choice for innovation and starting a business, opening up new employment methods for surplus rural laborers, young people returning home to start their own business, veterans and the disabled.
For instance, a county in Henan province has increased the income of over 60 percent of the poverty stricken population by combining e-commerce with competitive industries of the county. According to a report on China’s rural e-commerce development, the employment driven by rural online stores alone reached more than 28 million in 2017. In Zhejiang province, there are 506 villages engaging in specialized e-commerce based industries, which account for one third of the number of the whole country, creating jobs for 200,000 people.