E-commerce staff at the Yonghui Super Market in Lhasa, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, prepare for the delivery of online orders on Feb 8, 2021. (Photo by Palden Nyima/chinadaily.com.cn)
Online retail sales soared in the Tibet autonomous region in the first half of this year, rising by 66.2 percent year-on-year to 7.42 billion yuan ($1.15 billion), the region's commerce department said recently.
Online sales of physical goods reached 6.04 billion yuan, accounting for 81.4 percent of the total, while sales of virtual goods hit 1.38 billion yuan, or 18.6 percent, the department said in a statement posted on its website.
During the first half of the year, Lhasa, the regional capital, accounted for 87.4 percent of Tibet's online retail sales.
The city of Lhokha ranked second, with 3.6 percent, followed by Nagchu with 2.9 percent.
By the end of June, Tibet had 38,790 e-commerce operators, and 162,400 people had benefited from the industry－78,600 directly and 83,800 indirectly.
Tibet has one regional-level e-commerce public service center, three at the prefectural level, 43 at the county level, 252 at the township level and 799 in villages.
More than 74,000 of the region's rural residents have been trained in e-commerce operations, and more than 44,000 formerly impoverished rural residents have benefited from e-commerce businesses, generating more than 9.54 million yuan from online sales of their agricultural products.
Li Yanping, an official from the regional commerce department's e-commerce office, said the regional government had attached great importance to the high-quality development of the e-commerce sector, and a series of activities had been held to support online trading.
"During the first three months, online sales got off to a good start due to online shopping for the New Year Festival, followed by a shopping boom during the May Day holidays and the June 18 e-commerce shopping festival," Li said.
He said that for the rest of the year, the region will continue to expand the coverage of the e-commerce sector in villages and work out an evaluation standard for the development of some comprehensive e-commerce demonstration pilot programs in the region.
"Next, we will implement the strategic cooperation agreement we signed with e-commerce giant JD, to promote the development of Tibet's e-commerce industry," he said.
Sonan Tenzom, a 34-year-old from Lhasa, said she is a fan of online shopping now, although she is not good at using electronic devices.
"I love shopping for most of my daily necessities on online shops, including clothes, cosmetics, electronics and tickets. I rely heavily on online shopping now," she said.
"The delivery time for us is a bit longer than for people in other areas of the country since the region is very large.
"However, it is much more convenient than before, with a large number of delivery services, and shipping usually takes about a week.
"It is cheaper, and there are multiple choices on online shops. Online shopping accounts for more than 60 percent of my total consumption."