Online businesses play a major role in employment, but few workers in the sector are signed up for social security, a study showed.
The study, jointly conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the China Association for Employment Promotion, showed that about 9.62 million people nationwide work at online stores. These stores need about 1.1 million additional employees, the study showed.
The study looked at online shops in various industries across the nation, including clothing, cosmetics and food, through random sampling in February.
Each online store employs about 2.55 people on average, the study showed. But 13.1 percent of online stores run by individuals said they are short of workers, and 48.3 percent of stores run by enterprises said they face a labor shortage. In general, each online store is short 2.3 employees.
More than 30 percent of the online shops sampled plan to hire more workers over the next year, the report said. Each store planned to hire three people on average.
Fan Hui, 29, an online store owner who sells antiques and jewelry from Beijing, said: "In the beginning of 2012, after resigning from a private company, I opened an online store with one of my friends, who was living in Paris. She helped me to buy products there and mailed them to customers in the Chinese market."
Business has been so good that Fan has teamed with another partner in the US to expand the store.
She said the monthly turnover from her business can reach tens of thousands of yuan (thousands of dollars) and most of her target customers are high-income earners.
"There are wealthy ladies in the Yangtze River Delta area who like classical European-style antiques, so they always buy my products no matter how expensive they are," she said.