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Business trends

Asian shoppers turn to online sellers abroad amid pandemic

E-commerce boom powers transshipment and middleman platforms

Workers load goods onto a jet owned by SF Express, one of the largest logistics companies in China. In recent years it has stepped up operations of its transshipment platform, SF Buy.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Lucy Wang used to reach out to her surrogate shopper whenever she wanted to buy baby products from overseas. The mother of two in Shanghai would receive the items within days, delivered by hand by her proxy agent, a flight attendant who runs a side business helping local customers purchase highly sought-after items abroad.

Personal shoppers, known as daigou -- Chinese for "buying on behalf of" -- have been one of the major channels for Chinese to get their hands on products unavailable at home, or are cheaper abroad.

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