China will set up 12 more pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce, the State Council said on Friday. The State Council approved the establishment of zones in Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hefei, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Dalian, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Suzhou, according to a statement released by the State Council.
The move followed the approval of a pilot zone in Hangzhou, where e-commerce giant Alibaba is headquartered, in March last year. The new pilot zones will model themselves on Hangzhou while taking localized development measures, the statement said.
By experimenting with new models for technical standards, business procedures, regulatory mechanisms and other areas, the new zones aim to provide transferable experience to businesses nationwide.
The zones will attract businesses, help create jobs and nurture new business models to boost foreign trade and stimulate the economy, the State Council said earlier in a meeting.
The expansion of the pilot zones came at a time when the country is facing sluggish foreign trade. Total export and import value for 2015 decreased 7 percent year on year, falling for the first time in six years.
The Ministry of Commerce predicted that the trade volume of cross-border e-commerce in 2016 will reach 6.5 trillion yuan and will account for 20 percent of China's foreign trade in a few years.