Shopping festival helps small companies, exporters and farmers to go online
By Zheng Junfeng

The coronavirus pandemic has had a clear impact on China's small companies, farmers and exporters, who saw their sales channels disappear during the lockdowns and quarantines. Now many of those businesses have gone online to clear their stock over the past two weeks during the second annual Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival.

There has never been a better time to sell products online. The Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival that ran from April 28 to May 10 saw 109 mainstream online shopping platforms and companies in China making promotions.

The Shuangping Shopping Festival, or Brand and Quality Online Shopping Festival, is organized by China's Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Post Bureau and China Consumers Association. And 2020 marks the second time for the event.

The Ministry of Commerce says the event has generated over 58 billion yuan (about 8.2 billion U.S. dollars) in sales, about 40 percent more than a year ago.

Suning, one of China's major home appliance and digital product retailers, reports that during the 13-day festival period, beauty product sales jumped by 75.3 percent than last year's festival, and digital products up 113.5 percent with 5G smartphone sales rising by 90.2 percent.

Apart from offering convenience and attractive prices to consumers, online platforms are using technologies to help exporters and farmers through a difficult epidemic period, where overseas shipping and conventional offline sales had been halted due to COVID-19.

Alibaba's Taobao has focused on helping exporters who are directing sales to domestic markets.

Wang Hai, vice president of Alibaba Group, says, "Taobao has initiated 10 measures to help small companies. Those include reducing fees, financing, logistics, and helping exporters sell their products domestically. We are promoting this C2M business model so that manufacturers can sell directly to consumers, as they don't have other domestic sales channels."

Live streaming is also an important way of creating sales, especially for farmers in remote areas. In some counties, even local officials took part in live streaming to sell local food. Hundreds of hosts in Zhejiang Province broadcast live on Taobao and sold 200,000 kilos of oranges in two hours.

China Post reports that over one billion parcels were delivered during the five-day Labor Day holiday, a nearly 40 percent increase.