E-commerce has facilitated cross-border trade between China and Russia, bringing cheaper Russian goods, especially food, to Chinese doorsteps, quicker than ever before.
During the second China-Russia expo in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, organic Russian food such as flour, honey, beer, vegetable oil and fruit juice featured prominently.
Heilongjiang, which shares a 3,000-km border with the neighboring country, is an important gateway to Russia.
Goods from Russia enjoy a "one-stop customs clearance" service in Heilongjiang's city Suifenhe, and can be in China within two hours, according to Wang Jianpeng, general manager of Eshanghui, a private Russian food e-commerce firm.
Wang was at the expo, which attracted nearly 10,000 businessmen from 103 countries and regions this year, promoting his Wechat account.
Organic Russian food enjoys huge popularity in China, said Wang.
"Our Wechat platform was launched mid-September, and we now boast more than 800 traders distributing Russian goods. Our daily-sales volume hit more than 100,000 yuan [15,762 U.S. dollars] within 10 days," Wang said.
There are many other merchants distributing Russian goods from Suifenhe, hopefully organic Russian food would be available to all Chinese customers within the next five years, Wang added.
China remained Russia's largest trade partner for the fifth year in 2014, while Russia is China's ninth-largest trade partner.
Bilateral trade rose 6.8 percent from the previous year to a record high of 95.28 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. Twenty years ago, it was less than 7 billion dollars.
Russia has become the most attractive overseas market in the world for China's e-commerce companies, said Jiang Zhenjun, a Russian studies expert at Heilongjiang University, at a seminar that was part of the expo.
During "Singles' Day", the global shopping promotion by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com, on Nov. 11 last year, Russian customers purchased the largest amount of goods in the world, according to Jiang.
In 2013, around 300 million packages containing items bought online were transported from China to Russia. This increased to more than 700 million in 2014, and is expected to hit more than 1 billion by the end of this year, Jiang said.
China's cross-border e-commerce has been developing rapidly, which will help create jobs, expand the market and inject new energy into the Chinese economy, according to a statement on the Chinese government's website earlier in March.
Online shopping revenue amounted to 9.8 trillion yuan from January to August this year, growing 24.7 percent year on year, according to Zeng Chen, an e-commerce expert at the Ministry of Commerce.
More than 80 percent of Chinese foreign-trade firms have an online-business arm.
According to China Internet Network Information Center, China had 649 million Internet users by the end of 2014, and some 557 million used cell phones to get online.
On Wednesday, the central government unveiled plans to upgrade Internet infrastructure and the logistics industry in rural areas, to encourage online spending among rural residents.
E-commerce is significant in integrating traditional and emerging industries, reducing logistics costs, encouraging entrepreneurship, creating jobs and boosting consumption, while its development will also help industrial upgrading, according to an earlier statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council.
Developing the e-commerce sector is an important part of China's "Internet Plus" action plan, put forward by Premier Li Keqiang when he delivered the 2015 Government Work Report in early March.
The action plan covers the integration of mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, encouraging development of industrial networks and Internet banking, and helping Internet companies increase their international presence.
The China Harbin International Economic and Trade Fair started in 1990, and the China-Russia Exposition was upgraded last year to focus on bilateral cooperation between China and Russia.