China will become the largest market for buying and selling products online across international borders by 2020, a report jointly released by Alibaba and Accenture said this week.
The total value of products sold by online retailers to overseas consumers will reach 994 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, with China the driving source of growth, the report said.
Online retail worldwide will grow 15 percent annually from 1.6 trillion dollars in 2014 to 3.4 trillion in 2020.
Even stronger growth is expected for cross-border retail, which is expected to rise 27 percent annually to hit 1 trillion by 2020, as consumers who shop for overseas products online are set to triple during the same period.
Much of the surge will be driven by Chinese consumers, who have been snapping up foreign products outside China or placing orders online. A growing number of Chinese online retailers, led by e-commerce giant Alibaba and its chief rival JD.com, have capitalized on the growing domestic appetite for foreign products - from diapers and milk powder to designer bags and fresh produce.
More than 100 million Chinese people travelled overseas last year, spending more than 1 trillion yuan, data from China's Ministry of Commerce showed.
Cross-border retail also rose more than 30 percent last year to 4.2 trillion yuan, the China E-Commerce Research Center said. China's commerce ministry predicts it will climb to 6.5 trillion next year.