BEIJING -- Chinese consumers are embracing online shopping, even as the rest of the economy starts to slow.
E-commerce transactions reached 13 trillion yuan ($2.08 trillion) last year, for a 25% jump, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The booming market is fueling fierce competition.
Local giant Alibaba, operator of the Taobao marketplace, and No. 2 player JD.com dominate the market. But Amazon.com and other foreign rivals are mounting a charge to catch up.
Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand tied up with Japanese trading house Itochu last November to branch out into China, with plans to concentrate offerings on imported Japanese goods -- popular among the expanding middle class.
These companies see the digital marketplace growing as smartphones spread in China. They are apparently ramping up investment in developing online shopping apps.
Chinese retail sales totaled 26.2 trillion yuan in 2014, up 12% on the year, according to the ministry.