Schools in China are rushing to cultivate cross-border e-commerce professionals as the country is in high demand for such talent, a local newspaper reported.

“The demand for professionals in cross-border e-commerce is soaring as the industry rapidly grows in the country with the implementation of the Belt & Road Initiative and free trade zones,” the newspaper quoted Dong Yonghua, a principal with Shanghai Zhenhua Foreign Trade Professional School.

In June, cross-border e-commerce was officially listed as one of the 46 new majors at secondary professional schools. Schools also cooperate with local e-commerce and customs brokerage companies to offer students opportunities to practice.

In China, overall cross-border e-commerce transactions reached 9 trillion yuan (1.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, compared with 3.15 trillion yuan in 2013, the newspaper cited data from a report by 100 EC, an e-commerce media and research centre.

Despite the high demand, the education sector hasn’t kept pace with the rapid development of the industry.

“We need more teachers who have both work experience and theoretical knowledge of cross-border e-commerce,” Dong said.

“Cooperation between schools and companies in the industry should be further enhanced to give students opportunities to practice what they’ve learned.”