Ing-Dan: Social Commerce’s frontier and The Future of Entrepreneurship

In an age where advanced methods of communication and networking have led to new strategies, such as crowdsourcing and social media, to make entrepreneurship more accessible to everyone, a new medium has made the production side of creating a new product easier for people to access. IngDan is a new company based in China that was founded by Cogobuy CEO Jeffrey Kang. It puts entrepreneurs in touch with manufacturers in China in order to produce the products that they think of. IngDan has recently expanded to Italy, giving more opportunity for Italian entrepreneurs to be able to produce their ideas.

The way IngDan works is simple. A client submits his or her idea on Ing-Dan’s website. The client then works with Ing-Dan to create a prototype. Afterwards, the client is put in touch with manufacturers in China, who then produce many versions of the prototype. The next step is beta testing to find and correct any flaws in the product. Finally, IngDan uses its connection to help distribute the product once it is ready to be sold. 

183762005The company’s partners include, but are not limited to, Lenovo and Intel. Ing-Dan Italy’s CEO is Marco Mistretta. Mistretta has held previous posts as the CEO at ACSI Informatica and Senior Investment Manager at Technico Group Moscow Branch. He has a background in the Internet of Thing and Finance, as well as in international markets.

Some of the projects featured on the Ing Dan Italy company’s website include: B-Phone U-10, a cell phone designed for young children by programming three numbers to corresponding buttons, making the phone easy to use, and Olo, a printer that hooks up to a phone.

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Ing-Dan Italy has participated in many exciting activities lately, including the recent APEC fair in Shenzhen, China. The fair took place July 14-16 and included over 1,000 technology companies, as well as speakers, such as Elon Musk. 

These start-ups are; Archon, a Modena based company started by Davide Venturelli that makes software that allows a user to control multiple drones at once (archon.ai), GET, a Rome based company started by Edoardo and Emiliano Parini that provides bracelets that serve as a medium between a person and their smartphone (getwearable.com), Horus, by Saverio Murgia of Milan that helps relay information, such as the location of a crosswalk, to blind people (horus.tech), IOMOTE, by Claudio Carnevali of Rome that helps create mobile applications (openpicus.com), Biotechware, by Alessandro Sappia of Turin that makes it easy to detect a cardiovascular issue (biotechware.com), and Xmetrics, by Andrea Rinaldo of Milan that a swimmer can wear to track his or her performance.

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Mistretta is teaming up with Kang, a Chinese billionaire who founded Cogobuy, a company that sells IC components, and The Comtech Group, that sells electronic components. Kang describes IngDan’s mission as, “To enable an everyday, normal, young entrepreneur to enjoy the resources held by only large companies, is the idea of IngDan. To allow them to make mistakes at a low cost is the biggest help that can be given to young entrepreneurs.” So far, IngDan has facilitated over 4000 successful projects and, with their expansion into Italy, that number to only continue to rise.

I introduced Ing-Dan as content / case history in module of digital marketing and social media communication for business development for Master in International Business in China MIBC of LUM University that recently has taken place as first edition in Milan in cooperation with NIBI – New Institute for International Business of Milan. With my students we classified it as perfect example of Social Commerce: where community of users represents perfect source of skills to produce and sell directly something and it defines a new important trend in chinese netizens behavior: everybody is protagonist in business dynamics. Online community is the only way to make these perspectives a concrete commercial scenario, because they are market.  Cogobuy as leader of electronic components in B2B perspective well supported the creation of online-community of companies that can buy and use components for prototyping. Engineers as fan and project proposers create the perfect environment to make technical discussions really dynamics and with concrete feasibility. Finally the users and followers are potential market for testing sales of neo-products and  they make the companies more aware of the importance of their investment. Ing Dan is  creature of chinese online community’s behavior, where internet represents the only way to do something (not to know something) . Now this vision is also part of western challenge for start ups and Italy is part of the game.

 

Annunci

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

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.

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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

 

New JV for italian brand in Japan. Modena: when coffee can represent identity of territory

It’s time to join well framed marketing strategy for Cagliari S.p.A on japanese market. The occasion to take part new internationalization’s project has been introduced by japanese partners and the historical coffee-brand from Modena decided to make then this step ahead with those enthusiasm and passion that such cooperation needs to improve italian presence on japanese sales scenario

Personally involved into preliminary step for analysis about participation of specific shareholders and settlement of Kabushiki Gaisha in Japan, I’m proud of professional cooperation that has taken place with Apmi – CONFIMI Modena with mediation od Dr. Silvia Faith and general export management from Cagliari S.p.A, Mr. Cosimo Pintore.

Immediately we understood that such JV might create real opportunities to promote Coffee from Modena in Japan and at the same time it could represent concrete start to build up network of synergies that can involve also culture, local manufacturing excellencies and territorial promotion in one of most important markets in the world for italian exports.

cagliari group

Such well framed vision of doing territorial marketing has been introduced by japanese distributors and investors who are managing some promotional events in Hiroshima area and in some other prefectures in Japan introducing the brand of Cagliari and Modena’s excellencies: イタリアの美食の街 The city of gastronomy (beauty as meal) in Italy, that’s the claim which the new Cagliari International Japan LTD is going to be boosted during several micro-exhibitions concerning Italy and territorial promotion for Modena’s area.

One of our partners is JTB Chugoku Shikoku, main local branch of biggest japanese tour operators that is investing on mutual strategy to promote Italy with its food and beauty and they’re improving strong communication to discover Modena as city of Ferrari, Pavarotti, Aceto Balsamico and more.

In this vision Coffee represents tradition, quality and taste. According with business strategy shared between board of directors we are going to set up promotional office / shop in Hyogo prefecture ion the city of Kobe that got long tradition about imports of european brands and well known for passion about coffee and pretty high standards of sales.

As consulting studio in Milan we are also managing new business missions towards Hyogo Prefecture for October 2014 as start’s point for B2b relations with japanese potential investors / partners. For sure such occasion that could be considered as useful platform to intensify more new joint – cooperations during next Milan Expo 2015. I think that Cagliari International Japan LTD will be able to be at the head position for new business projects that will need network of trustable players between Italy and Japan.