Have you got an e-com­merce path­way to China?

Cather­ine Beard out­lines the ex­act size of the e-com­merce op­por­tu­nity in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, and a new ini­tia­tive to tap into it.

Exporter - - VIEWPOINT -

We are all aware that China has some great op­por­tu­ni­ties for Kiwi ex­porters; but do you re­alise just how mas­sive the e-com­merce op­por­tu­ni­ties are?

Here are some facts to put you in the pic­ture.

There are al­most 600 mil­lion In­ter­net users in China, more than in any coun­try in the world. Next high­est is the USA, with 254 mil­lion. That's just 44 per­cent of the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion com­pared to 81 per­cent in the USA, so this gap will con­tinue to grow.

Ac­cord­ing to eMar­keter's lat­est fore­casts, world­wide busi­ness-to­con­sumer (B2C) e-com­merce sales will in­crease by 20.1 per­cent this year to reach $1.5 tril­lion.

In 2014, for the first time, con­sumers in Asia-Pa­cific will spend more on e-com­merce pur­chases than those in North Amer­ica, mak­ing it the largest re­gional e-com­merce mar­ket in the world. This year alone, B2C e-com­merce sales are ex­pected to reach $525.2 bil­lion in the re­gion, com­pared with $482.6 bil­lion in North Amer­ica.

China will take in more than six of ev­ery ten dol­lars spent on e-com­merce in Asia-Pa­cific this year. Be­gin­ning in 2016, China will over­take the USA in spend­ing.

So the ques­tions ev­ery Kiwi ex­porter should now be ask­ing are: “How can my busi­ness ben­e­fit from the rapidly grow­ing e-com­merce mar­ket in China? Is my busi­ness ready to em­brace an on­line chan­nel to mar­ket to China's grow­ing con­sumer base?”

New Zealand Post and the New Zealand China Trade As­so­ci­a­tion re­cently sought to ad­dress these ques­tions when they in­vited one of China's largest B2C shop­ping web­sites, Tmall.com, to run some sem­i­nars in New Zealand re­cently to present their new do­mes­tic and cross-bor­der e-com­merce so­lu­tions for over­seas based com­pa­nies to sell to Chi­nese con­sumers.

The sem­i­nars, co-hosted by NZCTA and NZ Post, and sup­ported by NZTE and Ex­port NZ, (in as­so­ci­a­tion with many lo­cal busi­ness stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing Grow Welling­ton, Busi­ness Cen­tral, Can­ter­bury Em­ploy­ers and Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and Welling­ton Em­ploy­ers' Cham­ber of Com­merce), were held in early May in Auck­land, Welling­ton and Christchurch.

Their aim was to help New Zealand com­pa­nies un­der­stand how they can best op­ti­mise both tra­di­tional commercial ex­ports and the di­rect ful­fill­ment mode, where the on­line or­der is dis­patched di­rectly from New Zealand to China through col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tmall.com's e-com­merce so­lu­tions.

Tmall.com was the largest B2C on­line re­tail plat­form in China based on the value of goods trans­acted as of Septem­ber 2013, ac­cord­ing to iRe­search. Tmall.com is ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing a first-class shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated Chi­nese con­sumers in search of topqual­ity branded mer­chan­dise.

Thou­sands of in­ter­na­tional and Chi­nese brands and re­tail mer­chants have es­tab­lished store­fronts on Tmall. com. Among these brands are Ap­ple, Mi­crosoft, UNIQLO, L'Oréal, adi­das, P&G, Unilever, Gap, Ray-Ban, Nike and Levi's. Tmall.com, and its sis­ter C2C plat­form Taobao Mar­ket­place, gen­er­ated more than 154 mil­lion pack­ages and RM 36.2 bil­lion (NZ 6.7 bil­lion) on Novem­ber 11, 2013 (or Sin­gle's Day) – that's more than dou­ble the 2013 Cy­ber Mon­day fig­ures from the USA.

A re­port, sum­marised on Al­izila, Alibaba Group's cor­po­rate news site, also shows the num­ber of con­sumers who vis­ited the two on­line mar­ket­places through a mo­bile de­vice reached 300 mil­lion in 2012. Around 57 mil­lion people, or 19 per­cent, com­pleted a trans­ac­tion when ac­cess­ing the ser­vice through a smart­phone or tablet.

Alibaba Group op­er­ates the largest on­line and mo­bile com­mence plat­form in the world with the mis­sion to make it easy for any­one to do busi­ness any­where in the world. It op­er­ates leading on­line and mo­bile mar­ket­places in con­sumer and busi­ness-to-busi­ness com­merce, as well as cloud com­put­ing and other ser­vices.

To get a bet­ter idea of the size of its busi­ness, in 2013 Alibaba Group plat­forms had more than 100 mil­lion daily unique vis­i­tors and Taobao Mar­ket­place and Tmall.com re­ported more than one tril­lion RMB in com­bined GMV. China's courier ser­vices in­dus­try de­liv­ered 9.2 bil­lion pack­ages, ac­cord­ing to China Post. Five bil­lion pack­ages, or ap­prox­i­mately 54 per­cent of the to­tal in China that year, were gen­er­ated from trans­ac­tions on Alibaba Group's China re­tail mar­ket­places.

If you missed the sem­i­nars, in­for­ma­tion is still avail­able. NZ Post and Tmall.com can help you.

New Zealand Post is work­ing with a num­ber of e-com­merce plat­forms to pro­vide a gate­way for New Zealand businesses to ac­cess the sig­nif­i­cant and rapidly grow­ing Chi­nese on­line con­sumer mar­ket, through New Zealand Post's end-to-end value chain and tech­nol­ogy, and its ex­ten­sive busi­ness net­work.

A good first step is to con­tact Vallen Han, Asia mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor in­ter­na­tional at NZ Post and NZCTA board mem­ber, at vallen.han@nz­post.co.nz.

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