Look east for eCommerce: some inspiration from China

By December 16, 2011Blog, eCommerce
CHINA eCommerce

You may have heard it first from Julia – this is the Asian Century…

Undeniably, Asia is ripping shreads off the failing economies in the US and Europe.  Economic giant China is storming ahead – now it no longer just manufactures our tech products (like iphones) but has their own growing, ferocious demand for smart phones and tablets. While the fastest growing technology brands in Asia are streaking ahead, western companies are also reaping the benefit of the ‘red’ dollar.

China now delivers Apple the most revenue after the U.S and this continues to grow. When the iphone was launched in China in 2009 – it was then just two percent of Apple’s revenue – now it (and Hong Kong and Taiwan) are 12 per cent of Apple’s full-year revenue for 2011. This was hard to grasp in 2009 when it was launched in China as you can tell by the reactions on Gigaom at the time.

Chinese-made and owned brands like Huawei being sold for a fifth of the price of Apple phones combined with the bans on wi-fi made the success of the iphone seem unlikely – yet the rapidly growing middle class is changing this…rapidly.

As a flow-on effect, online stores are now increasingly being accessed through mobile and the Chinese average spend increasing.  Australian eCommerce sites should take a leaf out of the book of the Chinese eCommerce site, Yihaodian. Boasting 120,000 goods for sale, same-day delivery in many areas and sophisticated digital customer relationship management tools. Astoundingly, it posted a three-year growth rate of 19,218%.

Or China’s Jiaxing Mbaobao Technology is one of the leading designers and distributors of bags. They take the business seriously with a research centre in Venice, a presence in Tokyo and are expanding to English-language sites targeting North America. The company, which has a three-year growth rate of 6,228%, has embraced the buzz concepts of “fast fashion”, “fast marketing” and “fast logistics” and serves over a million customers.

The growth in online sales has come despite the great firewall of China, which saw the closure of 1.3 million websites last year.  In a country with such a mammoth population and so many operators trying to make a yuan, serious savvy is required.

Chinese citizens spend an average of 2.7 hours online per day — second to only the Japanese and as the country continues to open up – the floodgates are also opening to savvy eMarketers which boast a local and overseas presence.  The Australian wine industry is just one growing area where satisfying the Chinese appetite for Aussie reds is a perfect eCommerce platform.  With such a high proportion of our exports dependant on the Chinese market (25 per cent), there is no reason that Australia’s online commerce players shouldn’t get a hearty slice of the China-pie.


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