E-commerce is revitalizing China’s labor market

The garment factory, located on the outskirts of Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province, employs mostly stay-at-home mothers around 35 years old. By producing and selling uniforms, including school uniforms, on e-commerce platforms, the factory achieved an annual revenue of more than 30 million yuan ($4.16 million).

Its market reach extends not only to various regions of China but also to overseas markets. The factory offers flexible employment to stay-at-home mothers.

A live broadcaster sells tea at a tea company in Yiyang, Hunan province, March 26, 2024. (Xinhua/Chen Zhenhai)

China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security recently issued a notice aimed at strengthening the regulation of the casual labor market. The notice states that efforts will be made to support flexible working, expand job opportunities and facilitate effective matching of jobseekers with employers.

The “Internet plus industry” model strengthens the position of various industries, and its positive impact on the stabilization and promotion of employment is increasingly visible.

With the development of e-commerce and mainstream platforms, a wide range of flexible jobs have emerged. These include online store owners, live streamers, social media influencers, social buyers, e-commerce models and suppliers.

People born after 1995 and 2000 became involved with wholesale e-commerce platforms. These platforms have provided them with the opportunity to select and purchase competitive products, which they then sell through social media channels.

“Danjie”, a vlogger, has visited almost 100 factories in the last six months. Many of these factories have produced low-cost alternatives to big brands or produce goods and components on behalf of other companies or brands.

The role of vloggers like “Danjie” typically involves researching supply chains, understanding consumer needs, and creating unique source brands. They need to trace the origins of quality products and identify truly cost-effective options for their audience.

In recent years, there has been a growing number of professional sourcing groups that serve as a vital link between factories and consumers.

Industry insiders said the digital economy, represented by e-commerce, has rapidly expanded and modernized traditional employment methods.

“Online platforms provide society with various flexible employment opportunities, driving the country’s social and economic development and maximizing citizens’ freedom of choice,” said Xie Kang, chairman of the China Society of Information Economics and a professor at Sun Yat-sen University.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)