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Online food sales on the up

http://www.chinese.cn 10:32, November 4, 2010 Xinhua News Agency

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Online food sales on the up
Hungry office workers are increasingly turning to online food retailers to satisfy their cravings.

With growing sales online, food may well be the next hot commodity in China's e-commerce market.

Online food sales are experiencing a boom as the Mid-Autumn Festival, when eating mooncakes is a traditional practice, draws near, and as growing numbers of Chinese companies enter the online food market.

Mooncake sales reached 6 million yuan ($891,400) between Aug 31 and Sept 6 on Taobao.com, the country's largest online shopping site, where up to 20 mooncake brands are now available.

Another e-commerce site Amazon.cn, Amazon.com Inc's Chinese subsidiary, has also embarked on large-scale mooncake sales this year, part of its effort to boost sales in its newly launched food section.

Wang Hanhua, chief executive officer of Amazon.cn, said that food sales take up a large proportion of China's retail industry, and "it's just a matter of time" before online food sales match those offline.

Amazon, which ventured into the field in June, now offers around 8,000 different kinds of food.

But it was not the first to sell food online. Dangdang.com, another popular online retailer, started selling food in 2008.

Jiang Qiang, vice-president of Dangdang, said that food sales now account for 10 percent of its total revenue, and this proportion is expected to grow in the future.

Clothes and electronic devices accounted respectively for 23 and 17 percent of total online sales in China in the second quarter of this year, according to domestic research firm Analysys International.

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