Star­tups, SMEs pick ex­press e-route to suc­cess in mar­kets abroad

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 13 Business - By REN XIAOJIN renx­i­ao­jin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese small and medium-sized en­ter­prises are tast­ing suc­cess in overseas mar­kets through cross-bor­der e-com­merce plat­forms such as AliEx­press from the Alibaba sta­ble.

Launched in 2010, AliEx­press aims to pro­vide on­line buy­ers world­wide wider ac­cess to Chi­nese prod­ucts made by small busi­nesses.

With a reach span­ning over 220 coun­tries and re­gions, AliEx­press has al­ready helped many SMEs to ex­pand their sales chan­nels abroad. Its on­line mar­ket­place serves over 100 mil­lion con­sumers world­wide.

Deko, a Guang­dong Guangzhou, prov­ince-based com­pany of­fer­ing build­ing ma­te­ri­als, is one among the many that have ben­e­fited from AliEx­press.

“Be­fore we started our busi­ness through AliEx­press, we were a lit­tle-known orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­turer or OEM,” said the spokesper­son for the com­pany. “In the tra­di­tional mode of busi­ness, man­u­fac­tur­ers have very lim­ited ac­cess to con­sumers and don’t re­ally un­der­stand the needs of con­sumers. We had to do what­ever our clients told us to.

“We used to work with a su­per­mar­ket chain in the (United States of) Amer­ica and we could sell only two car­gos of goods.”

Af­ter join­ing AliEx­press, Deko once clinched 20,000 deals on a sin­gle day (Nov 11, the Sin­gles Day shop­ping fes­ti­val, in 2016), with rev­enue go­ing up to $500,000, a ster­ling per­for­mance that set the bench­mark for the in­dus­try.

“In the tra­di­tional way of in­ter­na­tional trade, mid­dle­men used to de­cide the goods that will be sold and their prices. Chi­nese man­u­fac­tures had no say in such mat­ters. And 60 per­cent of the man­u­fac­tur­ers were re­ly­ing on the pro­cess­ing of or­ders. Once they lost their strength (which lay in the lower cost of la­bor and ma­te­ri­als), they found them­selves in a po­si­tion of pas­sive weak­ness,” Shen Di­fan, gen­eral man­ager of AliEx­press, said.

“We won’t get too far if we only do pro­cess­ing on re­ceiv­ing or­ders be­cause profit for an OEM tends to be re­ally low,” said Zhang Wei, a Chaozhou, Guang­dong province­based small busi­ness owner who sells wed­ding dresses.

“Since launch­ing on AliEx­press, we have turned our busi­ness mode from pro­cess­ing on or­ders to de­sign-pro­duce-de­liver,” Zhang said. “We now re­ceive 460 or­ders a day, which is 40 times higher.”

Cross-bor­der e-com­merce plat­forms such as AliEx­press have also helped Chi­nese star­tups such as Sim­plee to shine. Sim­plee is a do­mes­tic de­signer cloth­ing brand founded by four young de­sign­ers. The brand tar­gets fe­male con­sumers aged be­tween 25 and 35 who ap­pre­ci­ate wild, pas­sion­ate and in­ti­mate cloth­ing.

Since launch­ing on AliEx­press, Sim­plee has seen a surge in the num­ber of its cus­tomers. It now boasts 1.2 mil­lion “fans” glob­ally.

“The plat­form not only gave us sup­port on mar­ket­ing and ramp­ing up busi­ness vol­umes but also of­fered us de­tailed guid­ance on how to grow our busi­ness,” said Tao Hongjing, founder of Sim­plee.

AliEx­press said it aims to en­list 1,000 com­pa­nies so that their monthly rev­enue could reach $500,000.

HUANG ZONGZHI / XINHUA

A Chi­nese gar­ment de­signer (right) in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, tai­lors a sam­ple for his com­pany’s cus­tomers in Rus­sia via cross-bor­der e-com­merce plat­form AliEx­press.

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