EXPO 2015 – Events and Delegations are going to get ready. Introducing Nagoya

As italians we are well informed about agenda of activities that every day are going to make the schedule for next Milan EXPO  2015 full of participations. Usually we are more into updates that regard italian pavilion and public administration involved in dynamics of management and general organization for the most important event of the year than news concerning business opportunities linked with EXPO scenario.

But we well know that big expectations from companies and professional operators are in particular towards international opportunities that such event could represent as pole of attraction for dozens of millions of participants (more than 20.000.000 of visitors are expected in 6 months )

Beyond institutional participation and delegation that usually follow specific schedules according with standards of interest not always addicted to market – segments or operative business needs,  I already collected some requests from specific associations and consulting firms as well as group of promoters for investment’s solutions and similar operators that are really up to introduce specific contents and develop mutual potential cooperation on commercial front with counterparts from different markets.

bg_event‘Cause I’m specialized advisor with strong competence on eastern asia markets, and thanking knowledge on japanese and chinese languages, following such needs, as consulting studio, we are already getting busy on specific researches about participation of prefectures and regional delegation from East Asia.

The purpose of such activity is for sure to identify concrete events that can represent good point of start for boosting services, involvement of volunteers, business matching for well framed operators as long as setting up nice framework to plan twinning perspectives for territorial administrations from both sides.

Today we have completed our first selection of special contents / participations about Japan Pavillon and we are preparing official analysis about the presentation of Aichi Prefecture for contents and operators from this prefecture during 5 days in August 2015, when the events square of Japan Pavilion will host performances and contents from Aichi end in particular from the main city of Nagoya.

At the moment the organizers are expecting to introduce around 40 organizations from Aichi and the new has just been introduced as official announcement from website of the prefecture recently.

Honestly we didn’t find more details on websites and official channels managed by organizers of Milan EXPO 2015 (Italian and english version) about such micro – attendance in August and due of the intense planning it would be for sure difficult monitoring so many contents but as japanese side is already collecting participations and interests to finalize delegations profiles, I think it is really important getting ready to select functional opportunities on time.

Thanking our network of partnered consulting firms and official relations with local institutions in Japan we have prepared letter of proposal as supporting studio for what it may concern matching of operators, official introduction and services providing. About services could be interesting for such delegations or events we are including some elements that should be useful on bilateral dynamics of involvement like

– accommodations with transfer service included

– interpreters and volunteers (japanese speakers) in cooperation with Asian Studies Group Italia© already involved on official selection for volunteers and professional profiles for Japanese Pavilion

– communication agency to develop specific contents on international dimension in cooperation with japanese PRs

– business tours in Italy according with shared schedule after selection about specific fields of interest

– B2b corner in Milan with participation of specific event during Fuori EXPO (list of events that will take place in the city with involvement of private operators)

– Training opportunities or joining specific seminars on well framed series of contents according with purpose of analysis

– General Assistance

We are going to introduce more well detailed info about those delegations from East Asia that we consider interesting to approach and meet with direct cooperation ‘s opportunity during the Universal Exposition of Milan 2015 as we invite you to send us comments or introduce your profile (as organization or company) if you want to get in touch with my studio and network of structures involved in these dynamics in Milan.

Our main office is in the centre of Milan and we are really focusing on such business agenda for preparation of internationalization’s tools during Milan EXPO 2015

Annunci

E-commerce in China: when platforms support to master the market

E-commerce in China is for sure becoming literally a boom-phenomenon.  It’s like the first fast crazy running we got towards East at the end of 90’s  when everybody was looking at China as new economic power in the world.

And it must be so when we are facing with the biggest market in the world in terms of demand and wideness for online sales.

According with recent analysis we are going to overpass 600 millions of internet users until 2015 and around 150 millions of users in 2010 have been confirmed as already frequent buyers online; but more interesting to know,  the number of buyers should grow till approximately 520 millions of users before the end of 2015: effectively an incredible result if we consider that in Europe according with Statista© we will be able to reach approximately 190 millions of buyers at least in the same period.

infografika-1024x463

Usually when we think about e-commerce in China we could be stunk referring to complicated and un-protected system to develop online selling platforms. I think that problems concerning property rights and copycat’s risks should be pointed out as first element of the matters, but I would like to remind you that “the democracy of buying whatever you want” is one of most important perspectives followed strongly from 2010 by central Government and in general the legal system and also the awareness of consumers on buying original brands are bringing investors and developers to enjoy more safe and equilibrate environment.

Let’s check what kind of de-regulamentation nowadays represents a concrete step ahead for the development of the e-commerce environment in China

1500px-Flag_of_the_Peoples_Republic_of_China.svg_– 2010 with the  shangzizi 2010 n 272 the online sales are accepted as regular and natural prosecution of usual commercial activity for foreign companies so also  foreign investors are now allowed to make their products on sale online without any particular requirement as involvement of chinese co-investor and without any particular approval or distinctive business license issued by MOFCOM

– Then if you are not service provider for other operators but if you want to sell throughout your online platform your goods you don’t have to apply for specific ICP (internet content protocol) as it’s compulsory for providers that create online stores in name of  third operators

The second point is very interesting and represent a boost for online businesses: if you are a foreign company with base in China you can immediately open your e-commerce service without any other specific approval or license.

I’m used to suggest to follow this way to my clients ‘cause it represents a great system to educate customers to approach specific brand or production enjoying in particular sharing opinion’s tools and crossing information through social networks. I really think that even if volume of sales are one of most important goals for an online-store, we have to remember that in China the access to information through browsers represent the first step to get well detailed info and in particular comments from other users.

Chinois-shopper

Even if it seems more easy and quick try to being represented by third platforms like some services that T-Mall (owned by giant Alibaba) in particular when the company doesn’t present any legal entity registered on chinese market, we should remember that in this cases it’s more difficult to guarantee legal safety against fraudulent dynamics and payment is required oat of the times in foreign currency by exporters (due of absence of corporate- presence on chinese market) and it’s not always easy to pay for common users.

As researcher on marketing strategy for China I well recommend to place own brand or group of brands through e-commerce platform after registering own WOFE into chinese market , not only because it would be for real a concrete internationalization’s goal but also due to head for more well framed condition to boost own identity and at the same time to speed the realization of direct online store in safe and well guarantee condition without any specific additional business license.

as i’m used to say, chinese market follows specific P’s to ensure successful results on sales then

– Products: quality and distinctive features must be mediated with concrete perception of what chinese consumer is looking forward; and sometimes such elements cannot be put on focused so much through general e-commerce portal not directly managed by own management and partially created with third operators.

– Popularity: being online doesn’t mean only be sold on the web. The strategy of “word of mouth” needs to be boosted through social networks and specific promotion about brand and production that sometimes needs more intensive effort than general information  summed up in general categories of multi brand online sales.

– Price : information without price it’s not so attractive for chinese customers. They need to feel they are enjoying special bargain (it doesn’t matter if we are talking about middle level products or luxury). In particular if we have something to sell that fits with medium target, the announce of special sales are really attractive among young customers, otherwise the placement of products with high price for luxury field should be successful among specific senior targets

– Passion: chinese people loves to join shengyi (business) on both sides, as sellers as long as clients; being present in the market make us more aware about chinese culture and market’s needs. I think that e-commerce can express for real such passion on doing business into chinese market as more as you can be aware about what does China represent not only as producer but also as commercial operator who choose to invest in China.

I think that chinese law’s system will proceed on more concrete and responsible way to protect property rights against copycat’s actions and government will do all the best to boost  development for one of crucial factors for contemporary chinese economy like online businesses.

 

If Alibaba starts to be strategic partnered service platform for italian brands are we sure to get ready soon for that?

Last month we got first Matteo Renzi’s institutional mission as italian prime minister during official visit in Beijing. And after France and UK it was our turn to sign specific agreements for mutual development on key sectors, and talking about chinese market, as I’m already teaching for executive master programs in NIBI for Internationalization of Businesses on Eastern Asia Markets (New Institute for International Business in Milan), we need first of all to keep on mind how nowadays is very important the role of online sales for import-brands in China.

That’s why the first interlocutor for our Ministry of Economic Development  Mrs. Federica Guidi was Alibaba, main player for online sales that is boosting two specific platforms like Tmall and Taobao for B2c dynamics also for imported products.

elibaba e iitalia

As clarified in presence of chinese prime minister Li Keqiang, some brands as made in italy’s production, have been already introduced some years ago on Alibaba but comparing with other products and brands they are still few and needs more promotion.

In particular it’s really necessary to develop some specific strategies to make on focus features of italian productive’s excellences cause most of the times even if chinese market is pretty interested to buy foreign high quality’s products online, they are not well aware about brands, own distinctive features as much as they’ve never been in Italy before or well familiar with specific products.

In addition if also we should consider how communications strategy and publicity are on continuous development in China, where recently there’s going on get structured well framed scenario for promotion, marketing and PR than before, but comparing with western professional tools of doing business communication they cannot be used as entry-keys for the market,  to facilitate sales of specific brands with high level’s distinctive features, first of all it’s important for foreign brands to be represented as “available” products. So Alibaba is really good choice to start on doing that.

The hardest point on dealing with big group as Alibaba for small medium company  consist of some barriers on company’s registration and access to its services for manufacturers, cause usually in the past Alibaba allowed chinese distributors or whole sellers only as contractors for own specific online sales platforms for b2C  (like Tmall and Taobao).

We needed political and institutional introduction to sit down at negotiation’s table with Mr. Jack Ma, patron of Alibaba, and the strategy of our government seemed having sense in this step: made in italy means excellent quality, small production comparing with potential of chinese market and companies with familiar or low managerial trust’s asset (cfr Francis Fukuyama’s definition about italian corporate system) so the first way to consider internationalization should be get preliminary access on online sales platform as facilitate dimension of entry as follows

– even if the company is still present in Italy without any particular official JV with chinese whole seller / distributor

– simple contracts to get access to services offered by Alibaba

– dedicated team taking care of italian brands

– cooperation for defense of intellectual property for italian products

Even if the agreement represents a new important step ahead it still remains to understand in which way our SME will be able to join such preferential assistance for promoting on Alibaba, the costs of the service and in particular who will manage selection of brands and in which terms (the agreement specifies particular interest for luxury and  high level’s products).

Personally speaking I think that ITA (Italian Trade Agency) directly linked with Ministry for Economic Development, will have important role about such dynamics  and the key person of this joint-program was first of all Fu Yixiang vice-president of Italian – Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Rome, whom introduced Jack Ma on considering this cooperation’s perspective with our Government.  So the match starts as political / institutional agenda.

I think that “the red card” ( or rather political involvement on boosting business issues with chinese counterpart) is totally good strategy (as whoever works with China well knows the importance of political action on market’s issues) but the matter now is represented by orientation’s scheme for brands and companies that would be introduced on online sales maker in China.

china sales

Indeed doing online business in China is totally different than in Europe, USA or Japan and it needs specific training cause probably most of italian SME still don’t have “fully equipped” departments to realize as this step is really internationalization’s matter.

Some successful companies like YOOX for example, if we think about fashion’s brands, put on feature the lack of skills for our brands on approaching online sales in China from 2008 and prepared the best way to get internationalization’s tools for products before promoting them online. It’s great news to know that by now we’ll be able probably to facilitate the access of more brands in sustainable way on chinese online sales market but it’s urgent to prepare SME making them operatives on right way to develop elements about management, production, communication, research and strategic planning that could match with new perspective of meeting chinese clients online.

Management: International vision is a must, cross cultural skills needed, awareness about chinese social networks and online scenario cause they represent parallel market.

Production: Tmall and Taobao are global markets inside national market with high performance of success for sales towards well framed targets (different regions, different cultures, different styles)

Communications: managing team that operates into online businesses are sometimes really different than usual ex so enterprises or usual main trading companies which we were familiar to do business with, timing of doing business online needs specific attention, tools used to communicate with chinese counterpart (stop email – ok instant massaging) must be well selected

Research and Strategic Planning: publicity, online communities, competitors and  investments for online presence,  (around 10% of annual investments for maintenance and develop of business from companies in China is for online publicity) needs dedicated team to sustain planned objectives.

If will be able to assist italian companies not only on getting sustainable entry for online platforms but also on providing for them specific skills and preparation to manage diversified tools that such scenario constantly involves, in addition with cross cultural  vision that I think will always represent “distinctive  plus” for people whom wanna doing business in China