China’s southern tech hub of Shenzhen is giving away 11 million yuan (US$1.6 million) in cash grants to local firms that provide services to the cross-border e-commerce sector, part of a plan to boost sales of Chinese products to overseas consumers. The 11 recipients, each receiving 1 million yuan, are third-party service providers that help Chinese merchants reach overseas buyers through e-commerce platforms. Shenzhen Ocean Payment, for instance, provides payment solutions to China’s online merchants, while Shop Lazza helps Chinese exporters to build their own e-commerce website. Shenzhen ECCang, another recipient of funding, provides logistics and warehousing services to merchants on platforms such as Amazon.com. India launches antitrust raids on Amazon sellers The cash grants, announced by Shenzhen’s commerce bureau over the weekend, are part of an initiative launched in 2021 to boost the local cross-border e-commerce community, including merchants, service providers and warehouse operators. The Shenzhen government pledged help after some Chinese online stores on Amazon.com – referred to as the “made in China, sold on Amazon” community – were banned for rating and review irregularities, although the funding support is not specifically tied to the Amazon crackdown, according to merchants. On top of the 11 million yuan, the city government is offering cross-border sellers 2 million yuan for each “independent store” they set up, defined as websites built by the merchants themselves as opposed to opening one on a larger platform. Operators of overseas warehouses could also be eligible to receive up to 3 million yuan. As China maintains its “dynamic zero” Covid-19 policy, business travel between the mainland and the rest of the world has largely ceased, and the country’s export machine is increasingly relying on online means to reach consumers. China’s overall exports grew by a better-than-expected 3.9 per cent last month from a year earlier to US$273.62 billion , compared with growth of 14.7 per cent in March, data released on Monday showed, but the figure represented the lowest growth rate since June 2020. Cross-border sellers and exporters in Shenzhen have also been battling with disruptions in logistics caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Freight shipments from Shenzhen to Russia have shrunk by nearly a third since Moscow launched the invasion, according to freight forwarders in the southern city who provide logistics services to the region’s exporters. Shenzhen merchants were also hit by a citywide lockdown in March , which suspended most business operations in the tech hub for a week, barring sellers from entering their warehouses and forcing logistics firms to temporarily close for business. Shenzhen, home to some of the country’s biggest technology companies, is also a cross-border e-commerce hub. The city has more than 40,000 such firms, accounting for about 35 per cent of China’s entire e-commerce sector, according to the Shenzhen Cross-Border E-commerce Association. The “made in China, sold on Amazon” community faced stricter scrutiny last year for breaking rules on the giant US retail marketplace, considered a main online platform for Chinese merchants to reach overseas consumers. Amazon revealed last September that it closed about 3,000 online merchant accounts, backed by about 600 Chinese brands, amid a crackdown on consumer review abuses.