Ding Lu is a “hand-chopper,” internet slang meaning an online shopping addict. The boutique store operator from northeastern Heilongjiang Province made her first online purchase in 2004—when she was still a vocational school student.

Since then she has graduated, started her own career and become a mom. Ding also runs her own shop on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao, where she sells fashion items and garments. It’s a channel that also helps boost sales of her bricks-and-mortar store. “As an online buyer and seller at the same time, e-commerce is in every aspect of my life,” she says.

Ding, now 30, is typical for those born in the 1980s: she’s a first-hand witness to China’s e-commerce boom. That sector has grown from a budding concept to a trillion-dollar industry in less than a decade.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.