E Commerce in Hong Kong: A Bridge to China and Asia

The key challenges to doing business in China
are culture differences. HK has experience in doing trading business
with people all over the world for at least a century, especially since the 80s, when
a lot of foreign companies came to HK and started doing business with Chinese people,
so people from HK really understand both worlds. For a Canadian SME that hasn’t done business
in Asia before, I strongly recommend they spend a few years in HK first to have a better
understanding of Asia. HK is like a shopping paradise for Asians
especially middle class and upper class from the mainland, who want to come to HK to buy
real products, very simple reasons, not necessarily for cheaper price or whatever, just for buying
the real things here. There’re a lot of e-commerce platforms in
mainland, but if they buy from mainland e-platforms, they probably don’t care about the quality,
or whether it’s real or fake product, but just care about the price. But when they buy from HK platform, they want
to buy real products. If you look at the mainland market, who has
the highest income? The educated ones with university degrees,
young, between 25 to 40 years old. These people’s DNA is digital basically. It’s quite different from the western countries. the high incomed wealthy class, they’d be
the retired people, or they’d be over 50, who are still of the old world, not in the
digital world yet. So they’re still reading newspapers. But if you go to the Chinese mainland market,
who’s still reading newspapers? They’re all on their digital devices. So if you’re talking about e-commerce, China
obviously is the focus, and that’s why they are dominating and significantly influencing
the retail market. From the consumers’ point of view, they
got more choices. How can you go to a shopping mall when you
have hundreds of thousands of different products for you choose from without even leaving your
home. It’s very convenient. I think the consumers are changing, especially
the young consumers. They changed a lot! With the internet, online shopping is very
different from the old retail model. In the old model, the merchandizers decide
what the consumers need. The advantage of online shopping is that there’s
no more merchandizer, so that the consumers can contact the suppliers and designers directly. We import tea from India and sell it in China. Normally we just do e-commerce or doing wholesale,
mostly done by emails or an APP called WeChat, which is quite common in mainland China where
lots of people use it. It’s very convenient and also comes with
a payment system which is very popular and getting more popular in China. If you have a good partner that can handle
the customer service, shipping and handling, it would be a good way to do it. How do we do the logistics? I’d give you a very good example. We’re selling the hairy crabs from Japan. If you placed an order with us this afternoon,
our partner would go to our Tokyo warehouse and ship the crabs on the plane tomorrow morning
to our warehouse, and we’d deliver it to you before your dinner tomorrow, and you’d
have live hairy crabs from Hokkaido. The China market is always looking for something
new, any new business module, idea, product, even new service or technology. My humble advice will be “Come! And try!” Now that with technologies, we can just put
your product online, and if you can shoot a nice video or some good photos of your product
with very detailed descriptions, so that consumers can understand and can have a stronger feeling
for what exactly you’re selling, then that’s good enough. Why don’t you just connect with the HK consumers
and mainland consumers directly? This is the new world!

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