The latest in U.S. and China import and export issues.

Export Now in the News: Chinese Media Edition

Asia Growth, Global E-Commerce, International Trade, TaoBao & TMall, US Export Sep 22, 2012 No Comments

After our book tour, and a string of recent wins, we’re proud to say that ExportNow has been receiving increasing attention in the news. In addition to features on USA Today and BusinessWeek, which we’ve previously covered here, we are very pleased to be getting coverage in the Chinese media, in addition to the US media.

Today’s roundup includes some of the various Chinese websites that have joined us in our journey to help bring US Businesses into the world of Chinese shopping online.

Though our western readers may be less familiar with media sources from China, we feel it is important to recognize and give thanks where due, regardless of the language the thanks is given in!

近日,天猫(微博)上一家名为“美立客官方旗舰店”的新店引起了众多网友的关注。因为这家店背后老板是美国前商务部副部长、外交官雷文凯(英文名Frank Lavin)。

雷文凯借天猫为美中小企业搭桥

这家名为Export Now的公司,通过设在美国加利福尼亚的分发中心和上海的货仓,为美国中小企业提供打包仓储、出口、报关、营销一站式服务,帮助这些中小企业打入中国市场。

- Do News |美国前政要天猫开店 助美中小企业开拓市场

日前,美国前商务部副部长、外交官雷文凯(Frank Lavin),在中国阿里巴巴集团旗下天猫事业群Tmall.com开出了店铺,其目标是帮助美国中小企业进军中国市场。

据悉,这家名为Export Now公司将机会瞄准了中国市场对美国货品的需求,通过设立在美国加利福尼亚的分发中心和上海的货仓,为美国中小企业提供打包仓储、出口、报关、营销一站式服务,帮助美国中小企业打入新兴的中国市场,而销售价格甚至和美国国内接近。目前,公司已帮助14个美国品牌实现在中国销售。

- Xin Min Wang | 美国前商务部副部长要天猫开店

 店里的东西接单后都是从上海发货并不是每个都从美国寄来,所以快递费不贵。

    而开店也不是想开就开的。

孟韫告诉扬子晚报记者,由于天猫不对境外公司开放,所以大家所做的准备工作就是在中国筹备公司,完成融资、注册登记以及招聘等,随后便是与美国各中小企业谈合作。终于在今年的1月底,网店正式上线了。

那么,大家在这个网店里买的东西,要从美国发到中国吗?那国际运费可是相当高昂!孟韫说,不是这样的。店里的货都是通过设立在美国加利福尼亚的分发中心和上海的货仓,顾客下单后再从上海发出。

- CE.CN | 美前商务部高官来华开网店 帮美中小企业出口

We are grateful to the Chinese media for their interest in our mission, and in the broader international economics and cultural dynamics at work behind our cooperation with T Mall. We take our business very seriously, and appreciate it when we are able to help bridge cultural barriers, and introduce some of the best parts of western culture to a country whose economy and infrastructure are developing at such a rapid clip. So, to all of our Chinese readers out there, 感谢各位!

If you are interested in getting your products in front of the eyes of the biggest online marketplace in the world, or have been thinking about Export to China as a strategic move for your business, please drop us a line here. We’d love to chat with you!

Industry Report: Alibaba on the Rise, Google & Amazon War at Home

Asia Growth, Global E-Commerce, International Trade, TaoBao & TMall, Topics Sep 14, 2012 No Comments

Industry Report: Alibaba on the Rise While Google and Amazon Wage War at Home

Export Now | Industry Report

Anyone wondering about the future of E-commerce in China doesn’t need to look far to see emerging trends, and massive market growth. Die-hard followers of news in the export industry will already be aware Alibaba.com is China’s largest eCommerce portal. What they might not be aware of yet is the fact that Alibaba.com’s sales are set to outstrip both Amazon and eBay this year. Amazon and eBay combined, that is.

While eCommerce wars rage at home between giants Google and Amazon, massive online markets continue to develop and mature in China.

“Google fights to unseat Amazon as the top online mall

Trying to stave off the competition from Amazon, Google has recently changed Google Shopping to require e-commerce companies to pay to be included in shopping results, so product listings are now ads. Inclusion used to be free. If a company does not pay to be listed, consumers will not see what they have to offer.

 …

ChannelAdvisor, a marketing firm for e-commerce companies, said that among the hundreds of retailers it manages, 63 percent have begun paying. For those sites, revenue per click on a product listing has tripled. One, ToolKing.com, an online hardware store, said traffic from Google and the number of people who make purchases had both risen more than 50 percent.

Will this ruffle feathers over at Amazon? You bet it will. If paid listings on Google get results like this for online vendors, you can bet Amazon will be firing back with a response of their own in short order. Media and PR firms will be on the story like their lives depend on it, market shares will shift around, but the size of the market will remain the same. Guess where the size of the market is continuing to balloon?

That’s right. Over in China.

 

“Alibaba Says Sales Better Than Amazon And eBay…Combined

Zeng Ming, the chief strategy officer of the Alibaba Group, China’s largest e-commerce company, told reporters this weekend that the firm’s sales this year will be greater than Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) combined.

Ming also said that the company is aiming for 3 trillion yuan ($473 billion) in annual transaction value from its Taobao e-commerce units on average over the next five to seven years.  The Taobao unit’s sales for 2012 are expected to hit 1 trillion yuan this year, company founder Jack Ma said last year.  Alibaba does not how much Taobao contributes to the top line, but Taobao is the main retail brand of Alibaba Group.

So if you want to give paid listings in Google a shot, or wait to see how Amazon responds, go for it. Maybe you’ll see your revenues go up like the source quoted in the FT article above. However, if you are a long term thinker and have a macro level perspective on the industry, you’ll see Alibaba as the new gold standard. As the bread and butter of the future of online commerce.

As the legacy online giants in the US go to war over market shares and try to exclude each other from the search engine rankings, lesser known and grander opportunities abroad become more and more appealing.

—–

If you and your company have been considering expanding into into the Chinese eCommerce space, feel free to check out additional informational posts on our blog, or drop us a line and speak to one of our Export Now specialists.

Export Now Webinar

Events Jun 20, 2012 No Comments

Export Now Webinar held on June 28:

How to Build Export Sales with
Break-through E-Commerce Solutions

Export Now’s CEO Frank Lavin presented an exciting webinar on how to build
new sales channels through E-Commerce.

Export Now: Michigan Seminars 4/16 – 4/20 — Learn to Export!

Announcements, Events Apr 16, 2012 No Comments

Export Now Road Shows

4/16/2012 – 4/20/2012

Location: Michigan

Michigan consumer goods companies interested in reaching new customers in the fastest growing economy in the world have an opportunity to take part in a new exporting pilot program which was detailed in four informational forums that took place around the state in April. (Frank Lavin, Export Now founder and CEO, in photo)

The Export Now informational forum schedule was:
• Monday, April 16 – 2-4pm, Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit
• Tuesday, April 17 – 8:30-10:30am, Rapid Central Station, Grand Rapids
• Wednesday, April 18 – 10am-noon, Lansing Regional Chamber, Lansing
• Friday, April 20 – 8-10am, Four Points Sheraton, Saginaw

How to Export to China: Our Twitter Chat with Melinda Emerson, the SmallBizLady

Global E-Commerce, Topics Mar 15, 2012 No Comments

Export Now on SmallBizChat

When entrepreneurs look for practical business advice, they often turn to Melinda Emerson, a Philadelphia-based writer and consultant and the author of  Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works.

For three years, Emerson has been the host of weekly chats on Twitter about small business. Using the hashtag #SmallBizChat, she brings together a subject-matter expert and an eager audience full of specific questions.

Export Now CEO and founder Frank Lavin was the #SmallBizChat guest this week. Answering questions about exporting to China, Lavin addressed the benefits of e-commerce:

“E-commerce is a simple and efficient way to reach customers in new markets. The smaller the company, the less practical it is to learn a new language, deal with new tax codes and currencies and to take a huge global risk. E-commerce reduces those barriers and lowers the costs of entering a new market.”

Melinda Emerson and her co-host, Tai Goodwin, kept up a stimulating stream of great questions. The whole exchange is excerpted on Emerson’s website here: How to Export to China as a Small Business.

Let us know what you think. Every day we provide more fresh information in our own Twitter feed: @Export_Now. Please join us on Twitter, on Facebook or write to our export advisors to have your questions answered.

 

 

Exporting to China: How to Know if Your Company Is Ready for E-Commerce

Global E-Commerce, Topics Mar 08, 2012 No Comments

Osprey backpacks are among the first products in the Export Now storefront on Tmall.com.

Is your company ready for new sales to Chinese consumers? Is your company among those best suited for the e-commerce services offered by Export Now?

Consumer product companies that want a new sales channel to China are companies that will benefit.

Companies that manufacture or distribute specialty consumer products that stand out by virtue of quality brand attributes will benefit.

The products will be sold on the largest e-commerce site in the world, Taobao, which has 150 million active users.

China has an ambitious, hard-working middle class with a strong appreciation for American consumer products. Chinese consumers aspire to the world-class quality they associate with top brands. Urbanization has pushed the population into cities and now more than half of Chinese live in urban areas. Five cities — Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Guanzhou and Tianjin — each have populations of more than 10 million and another 150 Chinese cities each have populations of more than 1 million.

The American lifestyle and its association with American brands attracts Chinese consumers. Small and mid-size businesses do best with premium and novelty products, items that Chinese consumers will associate with quality attributes.

Some of the first products presented in the Export Now storefront on Tmall include these:

* Top-quality backpacks from Osprey.

* High-performance sunglasses, goggles and helmets from Smith Optics.

* Competition-level skateboard wheels and other skateboard equipment from Bones.

Some categories that draw particular interest are baby items that speak to the Chinese focus on education and safety, automotive items that appeal to car aficionados, and luxury home and beauty items.

Companies that are ideal partners for Export Now are companies that attract consumers with quality goods and not by focusing on bargain pricing. Companies that are the suited for entering the Chinese e-commerce market are companies that emphasize a brand or product attribute that is well respected by consumers.

Have a question? Click to contact one of our Export Now advisors.

Selling Sports to China: More Jeremy Lin Fans, More Players, More Sales

Asia Growth, International Trade Mar 06, 2012 No Comments
Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin's rise in the NBA is changing the way China views sports

In the wake of “Linsanity” (or Lin fengkuang) and Li Na’s continued ascent to the top of women’s tennis, China’s attention to sports has increased sharply. The international prominence of these athletes is changing the often self-imposed stereotype that China’s athletic success is limited to individual, Olympic-style athletic competition and has raised questions about the merits of China’s institutionalized, drill-oriented sports training system.

(In fact, had Jeremy Lin grown up in mainland China, he would most likely not have been selected to attend one of China’s basketball development facilities given that his height of 6’3’’ falls well short of the preferred height of 6’6’’.)

More and more young Chinese, inspired by the success of these ethnically Chinese sports superstars, are picking up basketballs, tennis racquets, and a host of other sports equipment as foreign leagues continue to compete to win the attention of 1.3 billion potential athletes and fans. This increased demand, coupled with the shift in perception of China’s ability to compete in sports outside the Olympics, badminton, and ping-pong has raised the hopes of foreign athletic apparel companies.

Looking to take advantage of this change in consumer preferences, Nike – which has been in the country for over 30 years – has released a series of web videos targeting female consumers. The brief advertisements feature female college athletes talking about their dreams to become professional athletes, dancers, and yoga instructors.

A screenshot of Nike's advertisements on the video hosting website Tudou

Nike hopes that this appeal to female athletes will continue to encourage women to participate in sports at all levels, and of course, buy the top-of-the-line Nike apparel associated with these activities. Companies like Nike are in a challenging position. In order to sell their products, they first need to create demand. That means selling the activity associated with their products. With the help of successful Chinese athletes, this task is a little less daunting than it once was.

Even companies in non-sports related industries are utilizing the success of ethnically Chinese athletes. L’Oreal, the second largest cosmetics company in China behind Procter & Gamble, became the official sponsor of the Shanghai Rolex Masters Tennis Tournament in 2011. The tournament was watched by over 10 million people in China, giving L’Oreal an incredibly popular advertising platform

As sports continue to gain ground in China, at the urging of companies like Nike and thanks to star athletes, expect more attention to Chinese sports leagues and greater participation among athletes at all levels. This creates opportunities for companies of all sizes, sports related and non-sports related alike, looking to tap into the rapidly growing Chinese market.

 

National Association of Manufacturers and USDA Spread the Word About Export Now

Announcements, US Export Mar 02, 2012 No Comments
The National Association of Manufacturers reaches 14,000 executives every morning.

The National Association of Manufacturers reaches 14,000 executives every morning.

The National Association of Manufacturers reaches a national audience of business executives with its largest circulation publication — Manufacturing Economy Daily. The Daily is an electronic publication that crisply summarizes about 20 events, policy developments and opportunities for more than 14,000 manufacturing executives. On Feb. 24, thanks to Jeff Ostermayer and Cliff Johnson at NAM, the Manufacturing Economy Daily included this announcement about Export Now:

Export Now Launches Sales Platform That Will Allow Manufacturers To Sell To Chinese Consumers.

American consumer product manufacturers now have an efficient way to reach customers in China. There are over 150 million Chinese shoppers on the world’s largest e-commerce platform, Tmall, and now US companies can sell their products directly on Tmall from their office or factory in the USA. [A] new US company, Export Now, has opened a Tmall store that will sell your products. US companies can register on-line in the US, and Export Now will fill the orders from their China warehouse. “US companies can now post their products with Export Now to sell in China, as easily as they post on eBay or Amazon in the US,” said Export Now President Frank Lavin. With Export Now you work in your language, with your currency, with a web-based dashboard, and you ship to a warehouse in Long Beach, CA. Chinese shoppers use their local e-commerce platform, pay in local currency, review product information in their language, and receive shipments from Export Now’s Shanghai warehouse.

A similar news item appeared earlier this winter in the USDA China e-Newsletter | Volume 1, Issue 2. Thanks to Keith Schneller of the United States Department of Agriculture office in Shanghai, the news appeared under the headline: “Export Now” – A new way to enter China market.

 

Vote for “Export Now” – Your Click Helps Us Spread the Word About the Power of Exports

Announcements Feb 03, 2012 No Comments

The Small Business Book Awards are open and “Export Now,” the book that provides clear and simple steps any business can take to begin exporting, is a candidate for the best business book of the year in the marketing category.

Please take a moment to show your support. No registration is required. You may vote once a day by clicking here: Vote for “Export Now” and then clicking on the red “vote” button.

We are grateful to have your click of support.

As many of you know, the “Export Now” authors, Frank Lavin and Peter Cohan, outline five steps businesses can take to enter international markets. Lavin and Cohan apply decades of expertise to break down the work of exporting into manageable components.

The core messages of the book: (1) It is easier than you think; (2) you do need a plan. The authors offer you the tools to devise your own plan. Lavin also founded the company Export Now to help manufacturers and distributors in the United States easily reach new e-commmerce customers in China and around the world.

Voting for the Small Business Book Awards ends Feb. 16. Thank you for remembering to vote each day.

 

Find our Export Experts on Facebook and Twitter

Resources Feb 01, 2012 No Comments

Resources that can help you get started with exporting are as close at hand as Facebook and Twitter:

Export Now uses the reach of social media to spread lessons and insights that help American companies expand their businesses abroad. Stay current with the global conversation by returning often to our feeds on these platforms. Contribute your own comments and links to articles you are reading. We are proud of the community that we serve and we find that the exchange of information helps all of us.

This week, for example, the Export Now page on Facebook provides information on how international corporations like Starbucks are adjusting to Chinese expectations in order to increase sales. Aware of cultural and social differences, Starbucks refrained from pushing take-out orders that are so successful in America and instead focused in China on a dine-in experience.

In addition to providing examples of how business giants are handling international markets, Export Now’s Facebook page also has a recent post that describes consumer demographics in China and other growing e-commerce markets. With a watchful eye on both the international and domestic economy, Export Now illuminates the intricacies of product distribution, marketing and sales in a foreign market for small, medium and big businesses alike.

The accessibility of this information, managed by Export Now experts in e-commerce and international economics, can help any executive understand how to expand a customer base in a new market. An estimate of American economic performance last year, released Jan. 27, noted that foreign consumers spent over $2 trillion on American goods and services. The decline of the dollar as well as the initiative of American businesses have both contributed to this upswing in exports. Exports now amount for about 14% of total GDP, making exports a larger part of the American economy than they have been for almost 80 years.

President Obama has made it a goal to increase exports so that they will amount to over $3 trillion by 2015. Export Now’s Twitter feed dispenses helpful information businesses need to join this growing movement. In addition to news items and analysis from Export Now experts, the Twitter feed incorporates helpful tweets from other authorities on the international economy, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 30 other local chambers and trade groups.

Export Now’s social media feeds are a source of helpful information and advice for any business. Companies that want to expand into foreign markets will find that Export Now is capable of doing much more than simply keeping them informed. Export Now helps companies build sales one export at time. American companies need only contact Export Now to find an export adviser who will show how our simple cross-border e-commerce solution can lead to new customers and more sales.

Export Now’s Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/exportnow

Export Now’s Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/#!/Export_Now

Further Reading:

The Quiet Driver of Economic Growth: Exports

London department stores become the ‘Great Mall of China’

Rein: Why Starbucks Succeeds in China