The State Council issued a statement on Aug 7 approving cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in 22 cities, including Weihai.
The other 21 cities are Beijing, Shenyang, Changchun, Harbin, Nanjing, Nanchang, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanning, Haikou, Guiyang, Kunming, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Xiamen, Tangshan, Wuxi, Hohhot, Zhuhai, Dongguan and Yiwu, according to the statement.
Experimental measures will be implemented in the pilot zones in terms of technology standards, operational procedures, supervision and information construction in B2B e-commerce.
Local governments should encourage the pilot zones to simplify the approval process in logistics, storage and customs clearance, promote inclusive and prudent supervision, facilitate free and convenient international trade, as well as innovative breakthroughs in business types, according to the statement.
The statement also urged the related departments to work to prevent risks in national security, cyber security, trade safety, bio-safety, and guarantee import and export products' quality.
The Chinese government puts great emphasis on the development of pilot zones as it sees cross-border e-commerce as a key step in nurturing new development drivers and increasing the country's global competitiveness.
China's cross-border e-commerce trade (including retail and B2B) reached 7.6 trillion yuan ($1.12 trillion) last year, according to iiMedia Research, a market consultancy. The figure is estimated to hit 9 trillion yuan this year.
The comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones established in 13 cities including Hangzhou by the State Council in 2015 have since made notable progress, with cross-border e-commerce turnover doubling year on year for two years in a row.
Some of their practices in customs clearance and logistics facilitation have been replicated nationwide and have helped boost entrepreneurship, innovation and industrial upgrading.