China is boosting online shopping for public procurement to reduce costs and curb corruption.
Chinese central government launched its online procurement center on September 1. The website, zycg.gov.cn, has attracted 87 companies, including Haier, Tongfang and Lenovo.
More than 10 local governments, including the governments of Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu and Hangzhou, have also opened their online shopping centers.
Hangzhou municipal government tried its hand at "online supermarket" in 2009. It keeps 1,814 products available on the official website.
According to He Liming, president of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, China spent about 20 trillion yuan (3.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in public procurement last year.
"Public procurement helps to stimulate domestic demand and adjust industrial structure," he said. "But it is often accompanied by scandals of corruption."
When purchases are made online, common people could see clearly how much money is used for a product and how many products are bought, said Song Chunzheng, a manager with e-commerce giant JD.com. "Procurements of the government are subject to public supervision," he said.
However, some experts see loopholes in online public procurement, like low efficiency due to complicated procedures.
"The Government Procurement Law also needs improvement," said Liu Hengbin, director of the regional procurement center of Inner Mongolia. "It only tells what you cannot do, but doesn't tell you how to do the right thing," he said.
"Better policies should be drafted to promote online public procurement," he added.