E-commerce in China is set to continue its breathtaking growth but some market consolidation should be expected in the near future. That was one of the main messages delivered by panellists and participants at China 2.0: The Rise of a Digital Superpower, a Stanford University-sponsored event being held in Beijing. 'E-commerce is the next big wave in China,' Duncan Clark, a visiting scholar from Stanford University and an organiser of the event, told the South China Morning Post. 'Ten years ago, we were talking about it but it was too early. But now 3 per cent to 4 per cent of all commerce in China is online, and that is just the start.' Speaking at the event, Alan Hellawell, of Deutsche Bank, said: 'We believe it will be 7 per cent [of mainland total retail sales] by 2015.' According to Deutsche Bank research, business-to-business (B2B) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales in China reached 263 billion yuan (HK$306 billion) last year, and were expected to continue to grow at 42 per cent a year in the short term, reaching 1.52 trillion yuan by 2014. 'It is not illogical that one-third of Chinese on the internet will be shopping, though traditional retailers in China have a lot to teach e-commerce players,' he added. While parts of the world have long embraced shopping online, it has been slower to take off in China. Over the past few years, however, with the explosion of internet use and the arrival of e-commerce platform Taobao, through which an estimated 82 per cent of online consumer spending is channelled, it has become a key place for mainlanders to spend their money. 'Online shopping in China is 80 per cent dominated by C2C,' Chen Yu, co-founder of Yeepay, one of the leading e-payment providers in China and another panellist, said. 'The B2C market is still in an early phase but there is the opportunity to grow.' Unlike in the US, where traditional retailers have established a strong online presence, large brands are yet to grow a significant direct online business. 'There are price discrepancies of between 2 per cent and 15 per cent, with online-only players at the cheaper end,' Hellawell said. He added that the situation was 'unsustainable' and one that would lead to market consolidation over the next few years, with several of the larger B2C companies going on to become comprehensive online shopping centres.