China’s E-commerce Industry Employs More People Than Kenya’s Entire Population

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China has released statistics of their e-commerce industry and as expected, it is one huge industry in the country.

E-commerce transaction volume in the country reached $4.93 trillion which is an increase of 6.7% year on year. Online retail sales reached $1.51 trillion which was a 16.5% jump year on year. Online sales of physical commodities was $1.21 trillion, which was a 19.5% improvement year on year which accounted for 20.7% of total retail sales of consumer goods.

We know that China’s population is huge and this is manifested in their e-commerce industry. China had 51.26 million employees in the e-commerce industry last year, which was an 8.29% increase year on year.


That is a staggering number by any measure. For example, Kenya recorded a population of around 47.6 million last year which means there are more people in the e-commerce industry in China than the entire population in Kenya. However, if you consider China’s population which stands at roughly 1.43 billion, the percentage of the population engaged in e-commerce is tiny, at only 3.6%.


In Kenya, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, only 25.4% of industries in the country are engaged in e-commerce, where the highest proportions are in the electricity, gas steam and air conditioning industries. Considering that the total labour force in the country is 18,730,248 as of Q1 2020 (according to KBS), you can estimate that only 4.7 million people in Kenya are engaged in the e-commerce industry one way or the other.

E-commerce will still grow in various countries around the world, Kenya included. This led to the President approving the Finance Bill 2020 which introduced the 1.5% digital tax for online sales which will be effective next year.

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