2018 CCEE Hangzhou kicks off with innovators from all over the world.
The 2018 Hangzhou China Cross-Border E-Commerce Exhibition (CCEE) kicked off today with presentations from movers and shakers in the e-commerce industry from around the world, including speakers from Alibaba, Facebook and officials from the Zhejiang Province’s Ministry of Commerce, which co-sponsored the event along with Cifnews.
Several officials from Zhejiang’s E-commerce and Trade Bureau gave opening remarks, expressing their support for the event and outlining additional initiatives the government is taking to continue stimulating e-commerce growth in the area.
“This is a new wave in economic prosperity,” one official said before announcing that the local government is launching an operation center dedicated exclusively to e-commerce.
The Zhejiang government expressed support for 2018 CCEE Hangzhou and outlined additional initiatives the government is taking to continue stimulating e-commerce growth in the area.
Another official noted that while the region has seen significant financial gain as a result of its e-commerce activity — calling it “the calling card of Hangzhou — there are still areas for improvement.
“E-commerce is challenging as well as innovating,” the official said, adding that Chinese companies need to see themselves as pioneers rather than imitators and strive for inclusivity as new companies continue to come online at a rapid pace.
If China’s companies rise to the challenge, they can set the global norms for e-commerce practices and “transform foreign trade,” he said.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, USC marketing and communications professor Freddy J. Nager said the single most important thing Chinese e-commerce companies need to do to enter the global market is generate trust with consumers.
“Unless consumers develop trust with your brand, your sales will not live up to your expectations,” said Nager, who has two decades of experience in the e-commerce space.
In his presentation, he outlined eight steps Chinese companies can take to achieve that trust, including hiring professional writers and website designers; adding a detailed “about us” website section, including bios and photos of those behind it; publishing good and bad reviews from average consumers and experts; and working towards establishing a physical presence.
“Unless consumers develop trust with your brand, your sales will not live up to your expectations,” said Freddy J. Nager, a Los Angeles-based marketing professor.
Nager told Cifnews after his talk that he believes Chinese companies will soon be establishing their own brand identities rather than manufacturing goods for resellers, who make the majority of the profit.
“I’m walking around and seeing all these beautiful watches [at CCEE Hangzhou], but their names are not Amazon,” Nager told Cifnews. “Then somebody with a fancy Italian name puts their name on it.” The manufacturer might make $10 on the watch, while the reseller makes $70, he said.
“So I think the next trend is Chinese companies are finally going to say, ‘It’s our turn. We can be the next Samsung, or the next big name that American consumers know’,” Nager added.
Nager also said that he believes that the growing Chinese middle class is ready to increase its purchases of American products, but so far American companies have not made enough of an effort to market to them — or have simply stopped manufacturing their own goods.
Although Facebook is blocked in China, the company’s head of China business development, Vivian Ouyang, told CCEE Hangzhou attendees that Chinese companies hoping to reach foreign markets still need to harness the massive social media site’s advertising power.
Singapore-based Ouyang said that companies can easily create a page on Facebook to amplify their exposure to consumers abroad.
“Socialization is not the target objective,” it’s creating awareness and, eventually, conversion, Ouyang said. Half of Facebook users read the news of the social media site’s business channels, she said.
“As long as you have interesting and rich content, you can create a powerful brand,” Ouyang said. Besides creating quality content, she said companies should invest significant time in understanding their consumers, by analyzing their shopping and browsing habits, and basic demographics.
The conference attracted several European companies interested in further developing cross-border e-commerce with China, including EU-China Logistics (ECL), an incubator founded by the regional Walloon government in Belgium.
The goal of ECL is to lend to support to Chinese logistics and transportation companies looking to establish their businesses in Europe, according to presenters Stefano Smears, trade commissioner for the Wallonia region at Belgium’s General Consulate in Shanghai, and ECL GM Dongqing Zhang.
To help bridge Chinese and European interests, ECL provides office space and mail boxes for newly established companies, as well as consultation services and connections to appropriate government departments and local partners.