BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- China's e-commerce industry continued to thrive last year despite mounting downward economic pressures and lingering trade tensions, according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce.
China led the world in e-commerce, with about 51.26 million people employed in the sector in 2019.
The country's e-commerce transactions hit 34.81 trillion yuan (about 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, with online retail sales reaching 10.63 trillion yuan, up 16.5 percent year on year.
E-commerce has contributed a great deal in terms of "promoting consumption, stabilizing foreign trade, alleviating poverty, and boosting employment," playing a key role in ensuring the country's steady and high-quality development, the report said.
In 2019, online retail contributed 45.6 percent of the growth in the country's total retail sales.
The report also said that China has established bilateral e-commerce cooperation mechanisms with 22 countries.
In addition, China approved 24 cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in 2019, bringing the total number to 59. These pilot zones provide a streamlined system with simplified regulations for faster examination and approval, customs clearance, and easier information sharing for cross-border e-commerce imports and exports.
Since the start of the year, the e-commerce industry has played a prominent role in guaranteeing supplies, facilitating work resumption and stimulating consumption amid the COVID-19 epidemic, said the report.
The ministry pledged more measures to promote the digitalization of traditional industries and ensure the high-quality growth of the e-commerce sector.
China had more than 900 million internet users at the end of last year, with an internet penetration rate of 64.5 percent, according to the report. Enditem