What’s on your nightstand? We put together this list of books to help any executive develop strategies and plans for 2012 that will open new markets and build strong connections to new customers.
1. The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You Helen Wang, who holds a masters from Stanford, is a business consultant, entrepreneur and the founder of a venture to help women in business in developng countries. She is a native of China who has lived for two decades in the United States and her book “The Chinese Dream” reflects her years of research into the Chinese middle class.
2. The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that will Disrupt the World Shaun Rein, publication date March 27; described as a “practical, must read for anyone dealing with China, doing business there, or simply trying to understand what is going on” by Ambassador Nicholas Platt, President Emeritus, Asia Society.
3. China’s Emerging Middle Class: Beyond Economic Transformation edited by Cheng Li, presenting a range of scholarship on employment, demographics, politics and other issues shaping the contours of one of the most important transformations in China, and what that means to the entire globe.
4. Export Now: Five Keys to Entering New Markets by Frank Lavin and Peter Cohan, with a foreword by Gary Locke. Practical steps from the Lavin, the founder of the export service company Export Now, and Cohan, a prominent business writer and policy analyst.
5. Capturing New Markets: How Smart Companies Create Opportunities Others Don’t Stephen Wunker, a business consultant and writer who has worked around the world, explores fundamental forces that allow innovative businesses to enter new markets and win customers.
Penetrating a market as large as China means reaching beyond the most-popular retail districts in Shanghai and Beijing. While some global brands are building storefronts across scores of second- and third-tier cities, even the top brands have learned that e-commerce efficiently extends their marketing reach.
Smaller companies have no choice. The cost of going online is far less that the cost of building one store.
Here, we’ve collected five reasons lower-tier cities matter, and how e-commerce can help you find those customers.
1. Speed to market Yigal Azroue, a clothing designer who sells his work in a Shanghai boutique, talks about the prospects for expansion:
“I have barely tapped into the market, but the opportunities that you hear about today are reaching the second- and third-tier cities much faster,” he says. “China is certainly not just Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.”
Rolls-Royce is honoring the Chinese New Year with a new ”Year of the Dragon” model. Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times describes the growing taste for luxury goods in China in her article Chinese are up to speed with life in the fast lane. Demick reports that the $1.6 million vehicles will have ”hand-embroidered versions of mythical animals on leather headrests.”
Retailers also say that high-fashion apparel is popular. This China Daily report on The Villa, a Shanghai boutique, makes it clear that shoppers in China are willing to open their wallets for the right products:
Yigal Azrouel is one of the designers that The Villa has carried since its opening and has seen the market and interest for a broader range of style grow.
“What I love about China is the excitement about fashion, not just clothing,” says Azrouel, who adds that he has a more international presence.
Kyle Berner is a New Orleans entrepreneur who started selling biodegradable natural rubber flip flops in the United States. His company, Feelgoodz, expanded with sales to retail outlets in New Zealand and Australia. Quick to seize new opportunities, Kyle was among the first wave of businesses executives to see the opportunity to reach customers through social media and early on he began building a Feelgoodz community on Facebook. Now Kyle is ready to take another new step as he prepares to enter the Chinese market.
Export Now is proud to have Kyle and Feelgoodz as an initial launch partner. We are also proud that Kyle is winning early recognition for his decision to embrace Export Now’s unique approach that allows any American company to easily sell through China’s giant e-commerce portal, TMall.
The Shanghai Bureau Chief for Forbes, Russell Flannery, sat down for a dinner of fried yak recently with Export Now founder Frank Lavin. This is Flannery’s report: Export To China On The Cheap. A key conclusion:
China is emerging as the world’s largest ecommerce market, and Lavin is teaming up with “Tmall” under the country’s most popular ecommerce site, Taobao. Taobao, run by Chinese e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma and partly owned by Yahoo, boasts more than 300 million registered users. “It’s the world’s largest store, and Jack Ma has made it accessible to everyone across China,” Lavin says. “We are making it accessible to people outside of China.”
One question Flannery asked was about the categories of consumer products likely to do well with e-commerce shoppers in China. Lavin listed automotive items and anything for babies:
Lavin thinks one of the most promising industries in China for U.S. exporters is baby items. “People are willing to pay a premium for safety,” he says. Another: auto accessories. China has become the world’s largest auto market, and has a growing number of car aficionados.
By Jim EricksonNov 21, 2011 | 01:10 pm
John Bryson, the new US Secretary of Commerce, traveled to China earlier this month, accompanied by US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Both attended a meeting for the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). The meeting was also attended by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan who represented China in the 22nd session of the annual meeting. Discussions at the meeting were centered around US exports into China and possible measures the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) could implement to further facilitate trade between the two countries. Previous efforts of the MOC led to the usage of United States made airport vehicles at the Beijing airport, which Secretary Bryson got to see first hand during his visit. Last year’s JCCT meeting strengthened intellectual property rights enforcement and made revisions to China’s indigenous innovation policies and pushed them through to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement. Other initiatives, led by the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC), are also being pushed to help small and medium American businesses export their products to China.
This is not the only example of the US government taking special interest in exporting to China. Many state governments have started programs of their own that help businesses within their state expand through exporting. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995, assists Virginia businesses through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance, and trade development. The VEDP works business development partners to help Virginia businesses establish themselves and be successful in their home market, but the main goal of the partnership is to help Virginia businesses expand their export base abroad. The VEDP not only helps companies identify new markets, but also creates market entry strategies and connects Virginia companies to foreign distributors. Participating Virginia businesses are given a summary of the most current economic and demographic information of their selected site, as well as individually tailored research for suitable land and other manufacturing necessities. The partnership can also assist with navigating foreign regulations and tariffs, further lessening the difficulties for businesses looking to expand internationally.
Export Now is also doing its part to help manufacturers of all sizes export their products to China at lower costs and with greater convenience. Not only does Export Now take all the headaches out of exporting your products to China; it also makes your products available to hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers by listing them on an exclusive storefront on Tmall.com, China’s premier B2C platform. The US Government sees exporting as an integral part of the future success of American business. Export Now wants to help American businesses realize that success.
Export Now is proud to partner with Wizard Wall.
Wizard Wall is a Virginia-based company founded by office products entrepreneur Mike Fogarty. Wizard Wall manufactures innovative portable white board products for offices, schools and home use. Export Now is helping make China Wizard Wall’s first international market.
Wizard Wall is a cling film that turns any indoor surface into an easel without the need for tape, pins, or nails. Wizard Wall film serves as an instant repositionable white board and with its imbedded static charge clings on either side. Wizard Wall has hundreds of uses – ideal for collaboration, planning and instruction.
Within the last few months there has been much speculation regarding the potential sale of Yahoo. At this point it seems as though the speculation is no longer about whether or not Yahoo will be sold, but rather who Yahoo will be sold to. Interested buyers include, but are not limited to, Microsoft, Google and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Jack Ma, chairman of the China-based Alibaba Group, has repeatedly admitted that his company is “very interested” in buying Yahoo. Buying the defeated internet giant is especially appealing to Alibaba since Yahoo itself owns a 40% stake in Alibaba. Yahoo has agreed to sell Alibaba what Yahoo owns of the company, but Yahoo has expressed reservations about selling the whole company to Alibaba. Due to many nondisclosure agreements Yahoo has signed with many other potential buyers, Alibaba has had trouble finding suitable partners to help fund the purchase. Though neither Google nor Microsoft has signed an NDA with Yahoo, assistance from these competitors is unrealistic. However, as of Nov. 9th, Alibaba has been in communication with Softbank Corp. about jointly making the purchase. The two are now in talks with private-equity funds about making a bid, all without the blessing of Yahoo.
Though questions linger about who will gain control of Yahoo! Inc., Jack Ma has had no trouble finding investors for Alibaba Group. On Nov. 1st Yunfeng Capital, Silver Lake, DST Global and other investors completed the purchase of a collective 5% stake in Alibaba that is worth $1.6 billion. Investors have come from a slew of different countries, including the US (Silver Lake) and Russia (DST Global). It is not known if this large investment in Alibaba will be put towards buying Yahoo! Inc. or used to strengthen the already monolithic Taobao, which this month yet again demonstrated its e-commerce might. On November 11th, Taobao’s B2C platform “TMall,” along with other e-commerce retailers, hosted a special online sale for the Chinese celebration of “Single Person’s Day.” On this holiday, meant to be a response to the exclusivity of Valentine’s Day, TMall generated 439,000,000 RMB in its first hour of the sale, equal to $68 million, and ended the day with over $800 million in sales. With investors purchasing stakes in the company and millions of e-commerce patrons using Taobao and TMall, Alibaba is continuing to outshine the competition, and their potential purchase of Yahoo! Inc. could send tremors throughout the e-commerce world.
Yunfeng, Silver Lake complete $1.6 billion Alibaba stake