China-Europe Freight Train Trips
According to China Railway Corp., freight trains made over 6,360 trips last year between China and Europe, up 73% from 2017. These trains connect 59 Chinese cities with 15 European cities, and are a crucial part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since the trains began operating in 2011, they have transported garments, auto parts, chemicals and other Chinese goods to European consumers, while bringing back European food, machinery, equipment and timber. Freight traffic saw slightly lower growth – the number of trips between the two sides rose 53% YoY.
Why is Tonglu the happiest canton?
For three years in a row Tonglu has been chosen by the China Institute of City Competitiveness to be the happiest district in China. How come? The huge economic development plays a very important role here, but the main reason is because four of the country's largest courier companies arose and were established in Tonglu. The so called 'gang of Tonglu' provided 15.4 billion mail packages in 2016, which is 18% of the total number of packages that were sent in the US at the time. Last year in China more than 100 million mail packages were sent per day. China has therefore become the largest market for express delivery services since 2014.
Exciting new partnership announcement for MAiNS International & ViaEurope
We are very proud to announce that we teamed up with ViaEurope to enhance the efficiency in the delivery process. Their expertise and technology in E-logistics and customs clearances solution, will support MAiNS International making Global e-commerce to Europe much easier and hassle free. The core of ViaEurope is IT, they have grown really fast and are a key player at the moment at Schiphol Airport. It is fully integrated with Dutch customs and focused on goods going into Europe and make them compliant and transparent. Their Platform has been designed to deliver small parcels, large parcels and container shipments anywhere in the EU complying with all the necessary regulations
5 Key Misunderstandings on Cross-Border E-Commerce in China
Lately, many stories have been published about Western companies that are suspending their online
activities in China. This is not surprising. The Chinese (Cross Border) E-commerce market is complex.
Hereby a list of misunderstanding that help you sell into China. The 5 key misunderstandings:
1. Alibaba is the largest player in China, and therefore, Tmall is the best place to sell our products online in China.
2. It is possible to sell online in China from behind your desk at the other side of the world without any problems.
3. (Cross-Border) E-commerce in China is the same as in the US or Europe. I open my shop and start
selling, easy as that.
4. Having an online store will result in guaranteed sales as China has 1.3 billion people.
5. I have visited China for business and the meetings went very well and the Chinese counterpart
wanted to buy several containers of my products.
The Netherlands still world leader in e-commerce
Date: 9 October 2017
The Netherlands still has one of the world's most developed e-commerce markets in the world, much higher than for example Germany and England. This can be read from the new B2C E-Commerce Index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), published annually. Nowadays, the Netherlands is in fourth place, just behind Luxembourg, Switzerland and Norway.
The research from UNCTAD analyses e-commerce markers in 143 countries on segments like internet usage, secure server density, bank accounts and mail system reliability. The Netherlands has a high rank partly because almost everybody above 15 years has a bank account, broadband is nationwide and because 79% of the population made an online purchase in the last year.
Seven out of the top 10 countries are from Europe. The other three countries are South-Korea, Japan and New Zealand. You would think America would be close to the top 10 too, however, America is number 26 on the list.
Cross-Border E-commerce trade in China gets impulse from the government
Date: 21 September 2017
China is getting more pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce. These extra zones must promote online transactions and therefore strengthen China’s competitiveness worldwide.
At this moment, there are 13 pilot zones in China located in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing. These zones are now being expanded and new zones will be build. Prime minister Li Keqiang thinks these new pilot zones are important for China to keep up with the times of the rise of e-commerce. Because of the cross-border e-commerce, consumers are able to buy goods from international wholesalers safely. The transactions are supervised by the Chinese customs. Companies who have a license can store their goods in bonded warehouses located in the pilot zones. Goods which are not cleared yet, can be stored in these warehouses.
Some products like cosmetics and health products, can be bought online and offline in the bonded warehouses. At this way, you pay no or very little import duties. In April 2016, the Chinese government wanted to end this to make the competition between online and normal importers fairer. However, this plan has already been postponed twice.
Cross-Border E-commerce (CBEC) China: what’s the trend in 2017?
Date: 6 August 2017
iiMedia just released a new report about the Cross-Border E-commerce in China. Some of the key points:
- CBEC keeps growing and is expected to reach a volume of €1.000.000.000.000,00 (1 trillion)
- 58 million online CBEC transactions
- Frequent purchases between €40,00 and €130,00
Biggest E-commerce players in China:
- Tmall Global
- JD Worldwide
- Red Book
Want to read more? Click the button below.
Insight of China’s E-commerce
Date: 4 August 2017
Nowadays, retail is evolving because of e-commerce. Yet, this is not simply the result of going ‘electric’ or going ‘online’. The basic components for retail are People, Products and Places, and these elements are changing.
In the 2000s, Places replaced the Products. Companies had to find a way to stand out from the crowd by selling in shopping malls, offline stores and even pop-up stores. Also, the rise of the internet contributed to an increase in online stores and e-commerce (Taobao & T-mall in China). The change of retail brings a new challenge: find the hidden consumers. Consumers are shopping online more than ever, companies are therefore now forced to integrate and upgrade their products, membership, channels and interface to grasp their customers.
What should companies focus on?
Peoples values and perception keep changing, and therefore, the consumers habit too. These days, consumers are attracted to good-looking and social websites. Thus, brands should do the following things:
Make an attractive User Interface (UI). The UI for online websites and platforms is literally the first impression for consumers, this has to look attractive because this increases the shopping experiences and trustworthiness of the consumer.
Enhance the user experience. It is very important for Chinese consumers to have a pleasant experience. Things as easy mobile payment options and user-friendly designs are a must. Localization is also very important for an e-commerce platform.
Interact with users. Chinese consumers like to interact, therefore it is important to offer an interactive buying procedure. Coupons, writing recommendations and referral bonuses can attract more and even new customers.
Data and customer management. It is very important to analyze the complete journey of a purchase. This gives a clear portrait and insight information about the customer which can be used for purchase predictions and marketing.
Repurchase. Acquiring new customers costs a lot more than maintaining current customers. Therefore, it is very important to maintain customer relationships to ensure repurchases.
Date: 13 July 2017
Source: Mains-International Newsletter
The market for Baby Formula is never boring. Every year this market develops and changes: under influence of the producer (Danone), the strategy and/or market changes and government policy changes. We have seen the rise of the CBEC in the past few years and the change towards parcel shipments from Europe to China in the recent 12 months. This has a quite huge impact in the market at this moment. In the past 5 years we have seen the price decrease during every summer. Now, due to the better control and production planning of Danone and next to that, the giant increase of Direct Injection (parcels from Europe to China), the prices of the bulk market are only increasing. Our expectation is that the quantities for the bulk will decrease more the coming months. At the same time, the prices of Aptamil and Nutrilon will increase more too. The market is quite stable, the demand is high and will only get higher from September 2017.
We will promote the Direct Injection more and more, as we are convinced that this is the way to go forward. With and through our partner Holland at Home, who is officially endorsed partner for Nutrilon by Danone we can offer stable quantities, stable pricing and long term contracts.
Date: 13 July 2017
Source: Mains-International Newsletter
We are very proud to announce that we will be the official distributor of the Dutch dairy company Vreugdenhil. We will start with our marketing and promotion strategy for the full cream milkpowderbrand “Two Cows” within the coming weeks.
Vreugdenhil is active in the dairy market since 1954. Gradually they have become Europe's largest producer of full cream milk powder. Vreugdenhil has three factories, and 900 Dutch farmers who deliver the raw product. They produce milk powders for the food industry and for millions of consumers worldwide. Vreugdenhil is also known as one of the most progressive sustainable dairy companies in the world.
Why do Chinese people buy a lot across the border?
Date: 6 July 2017
Since 1978, China opened its border for foreign investors. Back then, the total import and export of China accounted for 20.6 billion US dollars, accounting for spot 32 on the global trading list. However, nowadays, China accounts for more than 16 percent of the world trade, leaving only the US on number 1.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics in China, online retail sales reached 752 billion US dollars in 2016, making China the largest online retail market in the world.
Instead of mass products, Chinese people are more looking for first-class quality products. One of the reasons for this change is that Chinese people feel that western products have a certain amount of quality which they can not always find in the domestic market. Another reason for the increase in online shopping is the increase of online shoppers in the rural area of China. Furthermore, the Chinese government has taken a number of measures to make it easier for consumers to buy overseas products. For example, the government reduced the import tax on a large number of items which makes it particularly attractive to order online foreign products.
Western companies noticed the increase in online shopping. Therefore, large companies like Philips, Heineken and G-star started selling products online on Chinese platforms like Alibaba and Tmall.
The demand for Western products is growing, therefore, this is the right time for the Dutch entrepreneurs to connect with China and to fully exploit the potential of the Chinese consumers.
Cross Border E-Commerce in China: the basics of TPs
Date: 27 June 2017
Source: Webpower China
If an international brand wants to establish online business in China, Tmall is the marketplace it can almost never avoid. To make things easier, brands can work with Tmall Provides (TPs).
What exactly is TP?
TPs are agencies certified by Tmall to help sellers with their marketing, logistics, IP protection, IT development and more. In fact, Tmall global accept foreign merchants ONLY if they work with a TP.
Why should I work with TPs?
Besides the mandatory part, one of the biggest reason for collaborating with TPs is that they speak the local language. They are able to assist international brands with quick responses to consumer demands. They are the expert of the local market – knowing exactly how Chinese consumers are like.
How does it work?
In general, TPs charge brands in 3 ways: 1) fixed monthly service fee; 2) commission based on sales; or 3) mix of 1) and 2). Working with TPs could be pricy. Typically, a resourceful TP charges anywhere between 20,000 to 100,000 RMB per month (fixed fee); or a 5% – 10% of revenue share. Note that this cost is only going for TPs, excluding platform fees and commissions.
Is there any risk working with TPs?
Yes, there is. Despite that TP could be a great help for new comers in China, it can also bring additional challenges. First off, cross-border e-commerce is still a relatively new business in China. Secondly, being certified does not guarantee quality.
What should I look out for when working with TPs?
Select on service expertise
TPs usually offer one-stop solution, even though they may have limited experience in some regards. Determine what specialties are most important to you, and make the selection accordingly.
Select on product category
Tmall often classify TPs by product category, so as to better assist its vendors. For instance, TPs dealing with food & beverage would have different expertise than those handling baby care products.
Select on geographic location
Apart from national regulations, cross-border ecommerce pilot zones may have their specific procedures. Therefore, selecting the right location may give you easier access to online business in China.
Cross-Border E-Commerce in China: Marketing and Localization
Date: 19 June 2017
Source: Webpower China
For international companies in China, MNCs and SMEs, localizing marketing strategy is hard. First, it’s a big challenge to sell almost anything in the (over-) saturated market. Second, find the right proposition is also tricky. Resting on the laurels of ‘foreign heritage’ is no longer the way out. With millions of foreign brands flooding into the market, the only way to differentiate yourself is to demonstrate your product value and the unique brand story behind.
Similarly, pricing also matters when it comes to positioning your brand. Most of the international brands believe that their foreign nature allows them to ask for premium price – yet this is only partially true. Besides, mid-income consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing quality and affordable products directly from cross-border platforms. Furthermore, unique consumer psychology is one of the most drastic difference between China and the western world. It’s fundamental for foreign companies to get through some key points before rolling out any online activity in China.
In most of the European markets, consumers start their online purchase by searching through a search engine – even if they know what they want. In China, this is not the case. A typical online purchase path is: discover a product on social media like Weibo or WeChat and place an order from there.
Words from peers and influencers are important references when buying online in China. Therefore, KOL marketing is incredibly effective in boosting brand exposure. KOLs usually operate their own account on social media, and collaborate with brands to deliver promotional content.
By using a master App such as Wechat, companies are able to both sell and engage their audiences via content marketing. Moreover, Wechat also enables brands to embed loyalty programs into their official accounts. While social media such as Wechat is for making a social blast, when it comes to personal communication, email and SMS are still dominating in China.
Local consumers are used to immediate and personal assistance. In China, customer service across different platforms is available 7 days a week, 16 hours a day, at least. Meanwhile, more than 80% of the service takes place via Wechat/live chat/phone.
Alibaba expects annual turnover of 34.3 billion US dollars
Date: 9 June 2017
This year, Alibaba expects to get a 10 percent higher revenue growth, topping consensus analysts forecasts. Their annual revenue is likely to increase from 45 percent to 49 percent, which, most preferably, results into an annual turnover of 34.3 billion US dollars.
In 2016, the growth was approximately between 44 and 45 percent. Especially the takeover of Lazada, a large e-commerce company in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has stipulated the growth. According to Alibaba, Alibaba became a part of the daily life in China.
10 billion cash flow
Maggie Wu, CFO of Alibaba, reported that they had a free-cash flow of 10 billion us dollar last year. “Where are we going to invest that money? We are going to invest that to gain B2C market share,” Maggie Wu said. “This is a company that always invests for the longer term, for the future.”
Chinese economy slowing down
According to analysts, the fast and big growth of the Chinese economy is slowing down, despite the strong revenue- and profit figures. However, Alibaba’s sales have grown approximately 60 percent per quarter.
Cross-border E-commerce in China: Platforms & Entry Strategy
Date: 08 May 2017
Source: Webpower China
If you are still only thinking about Tmall & JD when it comes to cross-border ecommerce in China, then you definitely need to catch up. In recent years, many western players, especially fashion retailer, have tapped into the Chinese ecommerce market. These platforms offer custom clearance and free shipping services, so that cross-border purchase is almost as convenient as buying from local marketplaces. Meanwhile, local internet companies such as NetEase also established its own cross-border platform, directly competing with Tmall and JD in global business.
Types of cross-border platforms
Chinese consumers almost exclusively shop on online marketplaces, instead of stand-alone sites from brands. In general, there are 5 different types of 3rd-party platforms in China:
In online malls, customers are able to directly purchase items from independent merchants. The most famous examples are Tmall Global and JD Worldwide.
Hypermarkets adopt a B2B2C model, which is fundamentally different from online malls. Such markets (e.g. Jumei and Koala) purchase from foreign brands and sell in on the platform. Consequently, hypermarkets charge a markup from wholesale price to retail price.
Such marketplaces also buy goods directly from overseas suppliers. However, specialty markets only focus on a specific product category (e.g. fashion; baby care), target audience (e.g. young female; new mothers) or geographic location (e.g. Korean; Japan). Although traffic is lower, specialty marketplaces usually generate more qualified prospects and thus higher conversion rate.
Flash sales websites
Flash sales sites offer high discounts for brands that just entered China, or excessive inventories from high-end brands. Such websites can be an effective tool for foreign brands to test their product in the Chinese market, before investing substantially on ecommerce activities. Meanwhile in general, flash sales can be used as a marketing tool to boost brand exposure in China.
Such stores operate on Wechat – the #1 killer messaging App in China. Verified merchants can open an in-app store and sell to millions of Wechat users. Wechat also offers its own payment system for customers and merchants to pay and collect money.
How should I choose the most suitable platform?
As with many other marketing tools in China, no single platform fits it all. Hence, it’s always beneficial to adopt a multi-channel approach. In general, there’re 2 ways to enter China through cross-border e-commerce platforms:
1. Fast growth strategy (high cost, fast growth)
Under such model, companies usually start by establishing a flagship store on online malls/hypermarkets. By doing so, brands are able to quickly boost traffic & brand visibility. Also, they are able to gather first-hand consumer feedback and optimize future plans. Nonetheless, setup cost and regulatory barriers are high, and brands need to invest tremendously to fight against competition within each online mall/marketplace.
2. Organic growth strategy (low cost, slow growth)
Smaller brands often follow the path of Wechat store (market test) → Specialty market/hypermarket (exposure) → online mall (stable business). Under this model brands face less financial risks, and are able to use social marketing to target their audience. However, initial sales volume will be low and heavy investment on branding is needed to attract prospects.
As cross-border e-commerce is booming in China, it’s critical for foreign companies to evaluate your goal and budget etc. before settling down for any platform.
Ali Express to Guarantee 1-Week Delivery Time With PostNL Deal
Date: 04 May 2017
The Hague - Chinese AliExpress, part of the Alibaba Group, selected PostNL as the delivery partner for a majority of its packages to the Netherlands. Sellers of the popular platform get direct access to the PostNL distribution network. Through this collaboration, AliExpress is able to offer its customers faster delivery, namely within 5 to 7 business days.
AliExpress is one of the world’s leading online marketplaces. The platform enables consumers from around the world to buy directly from Chinese manufacturers and distributors. More than 100 million customers already use AliExpress to buy a large variety of products at competitive prices. Over the past few months, the Netherlands have grown out to be one of the key destinations.
“We want to offer our customers the best local experience, and therefore we have chosen for PostNL in the Netherlands. They have the number one delivery network in the Netherlands, and offer reliable services. Moreover, with Spring as their exclusive sales agent in Asia, we have our contacts nearby. This means that we can easily get together and monitor the processes and developments here, and adjust when needed. Their Asian team is very flexible and customer driven, and collaborates very well with our logistics platform Cainiao. This is key to us.”; says Leo Shen, General Manager AliExpress.
Spring Global Delivery Solutions are fully part of PostNL, and as such Spring is able to offer businesses in Asia, and beyond, logistic solutions. Spring offers AliExpress direct access to the Dutch distribution network of PostNL. Affordable and reliable distribution are key for customer satisfaction. That is why AliExpress have chosen PostNL as their exclusive distribution partner for a majority of their orders to the Netherlands. Through direct access to the Dutch local network orders are delivered faster. It allows AliExpress to provide affordable delivery of its orders to the Netherlands within 5 to 7 business days.
Tijs Reumerman, Managing Director PostNL Cross Border Solutions: “In the last year we have grown rapidly in Asia. Increasingly, consumers in the Netherlands and beyond are buying from Chinese online shops. It is a great achievement that one of the largest online platforms in the world have chosen PostNL for its direct distribution. Our team in Asia knows the market like no other. They speak the language, know the culture, and know what the customer wants. This local link has been essential in being able to welcome AliExpress as our customer.”
Cross-border E-Commerce At A Glance
Date: 20 April 2017
Source: Webpower China
We are living in the best era for cross-border e-commerce in China (CBEC). Dispensable income has been increasing; the (upper) middle class are seeking for niche and the latest items that are not yet available at home; consumers are shifting focus from price to quality & brand story… In 2016, the market size was estimated at $86 billion, while abundant foreign companies are planning to tap into this field. Let’s explore some basic facts behind the market!
Who are the customers?
A quarter of the consumers of CBEC belongs to the mid-upper class, with an average income of 10,000 RMB/month. Surprisingly, more than half of them are male (normally we associate female more with shopping). These people dwell in the South & east part of China, mostly Canton area & Shanghai.
What do they buy?
The most welcomed products on cross-border platforms are cosmetics, seconded by bags and baby care items. The main reasons include:
There is a big price difference in cosmetic/luxury products between China and western countries, due to the heavy customs in China;
Many brands are not yet available in the domestic market;
Previous food scandals disappointed Chinese consumers, therefore they are seeking food with trusted quality – especially for babies.
Why do foreign companies love cross-border platforms?
Traditionally, only big multinational brands can afford to enter China. You need to establish a physical entity within the country and go through customs and legal process – this is both time & money consuming. Now, all the tedious work are gone with cross-border platforms! Because of this, many startups and SMEs are now flooding in the Chinese market. In short, overseas companies now have the chance to access China directly and quicker, with less financial risks.
How should I set up my cross-border business in China?
1. Rule and regulations: This could vary based on industries. The latest rules were stipulated in 2016, make sure what is allowed and what is not before you start.
2. Online sales channels: There are hundreds of different platforms available for use, each with its own different targets.
3. Entry strategy: There are 2 ways – fast growth vs. organic growth, depend on your goals and budget.
4. Payment solutions: Mobile/online payment in China is revolutionary. Forget about Paypal or bank transfer, everything here has to go through local payment systems.
5. Logistic solutions: Chinese consumers hate waiting. If your product is not in their hands within 1 week (2 max), they will probably turn their back against you.
6. Marketing & localization: Chinese consumers behave drastically different from westerners. You have to adapt your marketing strategy to the local mentality.
7. IPR protection: Counterfeit is still a major issue regarding e-commerce in China. Make sure that you know how to protect your IP when the issue comes to you.
8. Third party service providers: External vendors could help with your marketing strategies in e-commerce platforms.
Cross-border E-commerce in China
Date: 30 March 2017
Alibaba Group, which has become a household name thanks to its ubiquitous online services, invited over 100 companies to visit Hangzhou, including the Dutch Consulate in China and RaboBank. The purpose of the delegation visit was to discover new opportunities in China's cross-border e-commerce business.
As a dominant e-commerce provider, Alibaba’s portfolio includes platform solutions, finance and payment, digital marketing, logistics and more. Now, Alibaba is going beyond local market by enabling foreign brands to sell to Chinese consumers via Tmall Global (Alibaba’s cross-border platform for foreign brands in China).
Customers of Tmall Global demographics:
Age of 24 to 32
Annual income of above RMB 100,000 ($14,400)
From first- or second-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.)
During this event, Mr. Jack Ma, CEO and Founder of Alibaba Group, and The Prince of the Netherlands Constantijn van Oranje welcomed the Benelux delegation at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou. Over the course of 2 days, experts from different industries provided insightful analysis of e-commerce in China.
Experts from DigiDutch addressed topics on how to establish a business in China from A to Z: market entry strategies, choices of different online platforms, online communication strategies and so on. The speech aroused active discussions afterward.
The majority of the delegation were from apparel and food & beverages industries. In China, it is forecasted that the market size for apparel will grow at a rate of 20 % through 2020, while electronics and appliances market will grow by 13 %. Additionally, China’s total online and offline FMCG market is expected to reach $2 trillion by 2020.
In conclusion, the mission revealed ample opportunities and promising future of the local e-commerce market. Under the right guidance and support, more and more international brands would thrive in China!
Did you miss the event?
If you couldn’t join this trip, don’t worry, you didn’t miss out entirely. The Dutch Consulate General in Shanghai published a guidebook of how to get your business in China up and flying! This guidebook provides detailed out regulations, online landscape, marketing strategies and more to prepare foreign brands for their ‘China adventure’.
Do you want to set up and improve your business in China? Get started with DigiDutch!
Insights from Alibaba Headquarters with the help of DigiDutch
Date: 22 March 2017
The key part of an e-trade mission organised by Alibaba and the Dutch Government was the presentation of the "Cross-border e-commerce Handbook". The George, as part of DigiDutch, was asked to contribute
content and expertise to the handbook.
During this event many great brands from the BeNeLux were present. Some of them are already exporting to China, while others are just getting a first taste of the market. From the many great discussions held, the following three points stood out the most:
1. There is no standard solution
Any service provider or platform that promises to have THE solution shouldn't be trusted. In China the market is hyper-competitive and moving fast, therefore a standard solution does not exist. It requires a balanced multi-platform approach to be successful in China.
2. Find the right partners
It is of high importance that you work with trusted partners that have experience and a physical presence in the market. This could scare many newcomers in China, but a platform like DigiDutch can serve as a great trusted party to ensure a smooth collaboration.
3. Inform, inform, inform
Things will change and they'll change fast. The market is developing so rapidly that nobody has all the information, so make sure that you are informed and up-to-date on the latest developments in your markets.
Tips and Tricks for E-Commerce in China - The Official NL Guide
Date: 17 March 2017
China leads the way when it comes to e-commerce offering spectacular opportunities for Dutch companies. E-commerce companies such as Alibaba, Tmall, JD and Taobao take the largest portion of the online retail market and can provide a good platform for foreign companies to sell products and services in China.
The complexity and size (USD 920 billion) of the Chinese e-commerce market demands thorough preparation from any foreign company to succeed.
Alibaba CEO and founder Jack Ma and StartupEnvoy Constantijn van Oranje received the freshly published China Cross Border E-Commerce Guide at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou from the Netherlands Consulate General in Shanghai.
It provides an abundant analysis of the Chinese e-commerce market and gives anyone who wants to enter the Chinese market via e-commerce channels clear insights and tips.
The Dutch Consulate General in Shanghai created this guidebook with input from DigiDutch, and in close cooperation with the other missions of the Netherlands Economic Network in China.
Closing Shop on China’s e-Commerce Platforms: Why Are Big Name Brands Leaving Tmall?
Date: 22 February 2017
Source: China Briefing
The Chinese market is highly competitive and unlike any other market in the world. The use of e-commerce almost seems like an easy way of access to such a vast market, however, the online store closures of a number of retail and luxury brand giants indicate that competition is no less fierce online.
Big Name Brands Leaving Tmall
Coach was one of the first US luxury handbag brand to launch a Tmall store, but announced in September 2016 that they were leaving the platform. Another example is the South Korean multinational conglomerate Lotte Group Retail who opened a Tmall store in 2015, but closed it in January 2017 due to falling sales fueled by political difficulties. Furthermore, ASOS, the UK's Largest online fashion retailer, entered China in 2013 with high expectations but announced in April 2016 that they were shutting down its operations in China as they had failed to attract enough customers which had led to a loss of GBP 4 million.
E-commerce is a high-growth sector, with online retail sales totaling US$581.61 billion in 2015, and it is estimated to grow 20 percent annually by 2020. China is now the biggest online retail market in the world, and Chinese consumers make up almost half of all online sales globally.
Companies looking to take advantage of China’s market size and sell to Chinese consumers often mistakenly believe that e-commerce offers a shortcut to success. While a misconception, this idea is understandable. There are fewer licensing requirements to operate through e-commerce, and customs clearance is faster.
However, as has been demonstrated through high-profile store closures in 2016, e-commerce requires extensive pre-entry knowledge of current regulations, a realistic logistics plan, and a local marketing strategy. Those who enter the market blindly do so at the risk of expensive learning curves and wasted efforts.
Spring wins Audience Award at PostNL Masters
Date: 10 February 2017
With the help of MAiNS International, Spring Global Delivery Solutions has won an internal reward at PostNL. Each year PostNL organises an internal competition called the PostNL Master. With the competition, they award employees, teams and business units who made an outstanding contribution. Spring is fully part of the PostNL Group and their Asian team submitted a business case in the category “High Performance Culture”.
PostNL successfully transformed their traditional daily mail business into a growing cross-border e-commerce business in Asia. This was realised by forming a cross-cultural and multidisciplinary team. PostNL has worked closely together with their customers and were thereby able to quickly respond to their growing business needs and implemented over 20 product improvements like Mailbag Track and Track & Trace. Moreover, the improvements they have made in Asia have also proven to be scalable for other international markets.
In total 29 business cases were submitted for the PostNL Masters. After several rounds, a jury visit, and a final presentation the team was awarded with the Audience Award by the Senior Managers of the company during the Annual Senior Sales Meeting in January.
China's population BOOM
Date: 23 January 2017
China has seen a huge rise in births after the government relaxed the one-child policy. Some key points:
Births soared by 7.9 per cent in 2016 as the country saw the deliveries of more than 17.8 million new-borns
At least 45 per cent of babies born during 2016 were to families who already had one child
It is believed around 400million births were prevented over the last 40 years because of the one-child policy
The total population is estimated to rise to 1.42 billion over the same time period, an increase of half a billion people in just five years.
Service Offered: Direct Mailing / Injection
Date: 29 July 2016
Source: MAiNS International
Due to the implementation of a stricter and altered policy regarding importing next year, we expect that an increasing number of companies will focus on a direct mail solution from Europe to China.
Together with our fulfillment and direct shipping partner we are developing a fast, completely traceable, custom-compliant parcel shipping solution from the Netherlands to your end customers in China.
You can focus on your end customers and develop your customer base, send us a daily electronic order overview in a specific format and we will do the fulfillment and shipping to your end customer in China within 5-7 days in neutral boxes. Or even in your own boxes, provided that there is a stable and significantly large flow of orders. There is a range of partnership formats and if you are interested in discussing the possibilities, please contact us.
The Nutrilon market - Insights from Chris
Date: 27 July 2016
We have all experienced a rather slow start of the year, predominantly due to the simultaneous introduction of both the jewel boxes and the metal tins by Nutricia and the subsequent unclear product and market(ing) direction. In addition to the two new types of packages, the market suffered early on from the long break surrounding Chinese new year, followed directly by the announcement of the new policy on April, 8th.
After this the prices have steadily decreased, sales through the Free Trade Zones have further deteriorated and this has had its effect on the overall market. Due to the fact that stock has been increasing, the BBD at dispatch has been reduced to approximately 13-14 months. This too has put pressure on the market, since all large Chinese platforms prescribe a minimum of 2/3 of the total BBD. ForNutrilon, at dispatch from factory, BBD is 18 months. Good news is that since a couple of weeks, there are fresh batches available of Nutrilon 1 and Nutrilon 2, with a BBD of 2017, December.
We expect the infant formula market to flourish again mid-August, due to the commencing of the peak season. We are proud to announce that our Nutrilon supply is unlimited and part of a closed supply chain, from the factory to our warehouse. We are capable of setting up a contract with fixed (low) prices, with a re-evaluation moment once per two months. Please contact us to discuss the possibilities.
Paul Lim as new member of MAiNS International
Date: 18 July 2016
Source: MAiNS International
We want to welcome Paul Lim to DMQ/MAiNS International. Paul will be based in Shenzhen where he will be responsible for the Shenzhen and Hong Kong region. With his extensive and broad experience in (Cross Border) E-commerce in China Paul will be a great addition to our organization. If you want to be in contact with Paul to discuss the services of DMQ/MAiNS please contact him by the following information or press the button below:
How do I use ecommerce to get my product into China?
Date: 08 July 2016
MAiNS International and two other DigiDutch members were interviewed by Sophie Loras of Clickz on how to use E-commerce to get my product into China.
China’s affluent middle class presents a huge opportunity for international brands, but using e-commerce channels to get products into this market requires diligent research and strong on-the-ground partnerships, say a group of Dutch consultants based in Shanghai.
China is the world’s biggest e-commerce market and by 2020 that market will be worth more than US$1 trillion.
The figures around e-commerce in China don’t stop there. There are 668 million internet users across the country and 413 million online shoppers. That’s expected to hit 750 million by 2020.
Merge DMQ and MAiNS International for CBEC Sales and Market Development of FMCG
Date: 04 July 2016
Source: MAiNS International
We are pleased to officially announce the powerful aggregation of DMQ BV & MAiNS International.
Our combined team consists of 18 complementary specialists, three offices, two warehouses, and an e-fulfillment center in Europe. InChina we are currently represented by our Chinese teams in Shanghai and Shenzhen!
More information about our companies at www.dutchmilq.nl and www.mains-international.com.
With our large network of manufacturers and brand owners, we are looking forward to assist you in sourcing the European quality products you need.
Webinar: Using Free Trade Zones to Sell Online in China
Date: 23 February 2016
Source: EU SME Centre
Last month DigiDutch and Mains International were invited by the EU SME Centre to present about the Free Trade Zones in China to around 200 businesses from around the world. Below more information concerning the content and the links to watch the webinar.
EU SME Centre
The EU SME Centre is a European Union initiative that provides a comprehensive range of hands-on support services to European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), getting them ready to do business in China.
Selling online in China is a great opportunity to get a foothold in the Chinese e-commerce market. Over thepastyears a number of pilot Free Trade Zones (FTZs) have opened up to facilitate the need for Chinese to buy reliable foreign products. Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in 2013 and other 3 FTZs authorized in 2015 are the places where China is experimenting its reforms. Cross-border E-Commerce operations through the FTZs have boosted the access of Chinese consumers to EU products across almost all categories.
Join this webinar to find out how to use Free Trade Zones to sell your products online in China, optimize your logistics and operations to benefit from the changing rules. It will also discuss relatively new Cross-border E-Commerce Pilot Zones and provide insights into the exciting sales channels opening up for your products.
After attending the webinar you will:
Gain an understanding of the FTZs in different regions of China;
Know what will happen with your goods after it arrives in a bonded warehouse;
Understand payment, post-sales and return procedures;
Distinguish if inspection is the same with regular Customs channels;
Get to know the expectations for the future
DigiDutch is a group of specialized e-commerce companies based in China. By uniting all the knowledge of various fields, they provide an all-round solution and help organizations to sell products and services in China. Want to sell online in China? DigiDutch enables foreign companies frictionless access to the Chinese consumer through e-commerce.
The Golden Week of DigiDutch
Date: 21 October 2015
DigiDutch also never stands still. During the Chinese Mid-Autumn Holidays we have had a successful visit to The Netherlands. DigiDutch was one of the keynote speakers at Shopping Today, the biggest eCommerce congress of the year in Holland, where we talked about the influence of China’s hottest app WeChat. DigiDutch also hits the Dutch newspapers after joining the Asia Trade Dinner. This event brought together high level representatives from companies doing business in Asia and several Ambassadors and Honorary Consuls.
For now, DigiDutch is proudly preparing for a royal eCommerce visit to Hangzhou. At the end of October the Dutch King and Queen will visit Shanghai together with a business delegation. Part of the program is a speech of Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba and DigiDutch own Jay Xie and Thomas Knoop will be one of the moderators during a panel discussion about eCommerce in China.
DigiDutch launched by the Dutch Prime Minister during the trade mission in Shanghai
Date: 25 May 2015
Prime Minister Mark Rutte launched the newly formed e-commerce platform DigiDutch on March 25th 2015 during the trade dinner with the Dutch Trade delegation in Shanghai. Within the DigiDutch platform eight Dutch companies located in China collaborate to provide western companies a one-stop solution to enter the online Chinese market.
The Chinese market is highly attractive because of its market size, a growing middle class and a high demand for Western consumer goods and services. But how to capture these opportunities? How to sell your products online in china? Which e-channels should you choose? How to conduct marketing in China? Should you have a Chinese brand name?
DigiDutch will help to answer these questions for your company as we help you sell online in China. Whether you are looking for a one-stop solution with a localized China Project Manager, managing your e-commerce activities from strategy development to branding, from online marketing to legal and from online channel development to customer service. Or when you are looking for a tailor-made solution for your specific needs, DigiDutch is there for you.
European postal and parcel operators generate record parcel volumes for Christmas
Date: 22 January 2015
Source: International Post Cooperation
Parcel and postal operators across Europe are reporting new record parcel volumes as e-Commerce sales continue to drive their growth during the Christmas 2014 peak season. In Austria, e-Commerce has given a major boost to Austrian Post’s parcel business in December, especially during the Christmas period. On a single day in December alone, the country’s postal operator delivered a new record of 470,000 parcels, which corresponds to 40,000 more parcels compared to last year. It has almost doubled the company’s usual parcel volumes of 250,000 parcels on an average day.
In Scandinavia, PostNord posted a new volume record on a single day on 16 December, when it delivered around 455,000 parcels. This corresponds to an increase of nearly 30,000 parcels compared to the previous record in 2012 when 427,000 parcels were handled. The big difference to previous years is also that parcel volumes remain at a very high level for more weeks before Christmas.
Postal service quality in Europe exceeds EU objectives
Date: 26 March 2014
Source: International Post Corporation
IPC releases UNEX™ 2013 results on service quality of international letter mail.
Quality of letter mail service in Europe continues to far exceed both the European Union’s speed objective of 85% of intra-EU mail delivery within three days of posting, and its reliability objective of 97% within five days. Performance recorded by the IPC UNEX™ measurement system in 2013 exceeded these objectives for the 16th consecutive year.
In 2013 92.5% of international priority and first-class letter mail was delivered within three days of posting and 98.2% within five days. Average delivery time was 2.2 days. These results cover a total of 31 countries: the 28 EU Member States together with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
Commenting on the results, Herbert-Michael Zapf, President and Chief Executive officer, IPC, said: “2013 was the 16th consecutive year that the end-to-end performance for priority letter mail in Europe exceeded both the speed and reliability objectives set by the 1997 Postal Directive. This consistent high level of performance demonstrates that postal operators’ work very hard to maintain the same reliable high quality services for customers.”
Quality of service performance is measured by IPC’s UNEX™ end-to-end monitoring system which is conducted independently by external research firms. The results for 2013 were based on 191,000 test letters of which 80% was containing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. The passage of a test letter at a specific point in the mail pipeline is recorded by RFID readers. The test letters move anonymously through the international mail processing system, from posting to delivery.
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