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China's online retail market to triple to $364B by 2015, says research firm

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China will have 701 million Internet users by 2015.

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China is set to become the world's largest online retail market, with sales expected to triple to US$364 billion by 2015, according to a report from The Boston Consulting Group.

The country will become the top online retail market by 2015, or shortly after, with 8 percent of all retail purchases done online, the Wednesday report said.

By 2015, China will have 701 million Internet users, up from the 513 million the country currently has. This will bring total Internet penetration in China to 51 percent, the report added.

China currently has 193 million online shoppers, 23 million more than the U.S. By 2015, China's online shoppers will rise to more than 300 million.

Except for teenagers, China's Internet users spend at least 1.6 hours a week shopping online, the report added. Younger Chinese users spend at least two hours a week.

China's e-commerce companies are already benefiting from the uptick in online consumer demand. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group for example manages two of the largest online retail sites in the country, Taobao Mall, and Taobao Marketplace, which have more than 400 million users.

Alibaba Group does not disclose gross merchandise sales figures for Taobao Marketplace, it's consumer-to-consumer site. But last year, purchases on Taobao Mall, its business-to-consumer platform, reached 100 billion yuan ($15.8 billion) in gross merchandise value.

Alibaba, however, hopes its two online retail platforms will deliver even bigger sales results for this year. Combined, both Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace are aiming to sell 1 trillion yuan in gross merchandise value.

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