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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.