With the right proposition, e-commerce channels and fulfilment partners, China can be a promising export market for even the smallest of consumer brands. On May 29 a compact and determined group of entrepreneurs is heading for China to find the answer to their question: how to sell my consumer product to the Chinese? Participants can still join the 7-day trade mission to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
The ‘E-Commerce and Consumer Goods’ trade mission is organised by NCH (The Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion), CGCB International and the Dragons Business Club. On board the KLM-flight to Shanghai will be owners, MDs and CEOs of companies and brands in confectionery and cakes, vitamin supplements, organic food, olive oil, professional sports equipment and logistics.
They share the same fantasy… what if one per cent of all Chinese consumers would buy my product on a regular base? “Some estimates are that in 2030, China will have 1 billion middle class consumers. Today, the Chinese spend money on western products for their brand, their trustworthiness, their heritage or their perceived quality or product safety”, says Mohammed Iaallala, CEO of CGCB, co-host of the trade mission.
For a high-quality product that has a good track record, China is the land of opportunities, says Iaallala. “Chinese investors and distributors are looking for western partners in food, sweets, drinks, fashion, infant formula, personal care and luxury & design consumer goods. Trade mission participants will meet key players and potential partners through matchmaking and company visits. Relevant e-commerce parties will offer presentations about the best way to market consumer products and brand in China.”
Although meetings with brick-and-mortar retailers and supermarkets are scheduled, the focus will be on opportunities and first and next steps in e-commerce. “China will soon overtake the US as the world’s largest e-commerce market and the best way to connect to Chinese consumers is by Chinese social media. European brands have many options for their market entry, varying from the selling via dedicated platforms and large distributors – the shortest way to the consumer – to opening own and branded stores on WeChat, Tmall Global and other platforms.”
No-hassle market entry
The trade mission organiser points out that virtually every province in China offers various trade zone options, where e-commerce associations and e-commerce businesses cater for the need for an easy, no-hassle market entry. “Participants of the trade mission will get acquainted with these service providers that operate via well-known platforms like JD and Tmall, some general, some dedicated to personal care or fashion. Selling your product through their e-stores is definitely an option for some western companies and brands.”
Developing your own presence in the market may be more profitable in the end, but definitely requires more expertise, time and money. “Each potential road to success requires a different approach, with a great variety in promotion, distribution and fulfilment options. This trade mission is a great way to get to know the pros and cons of every option available”, Mohammed Iaallala adds.
The key to the market
Finding the key to the world's largest consumer and e-commerce market can be a challenge in itself. “For SMEs and startups that are completely new to the idea of exporting to China, CGCB offers advisory services at low cost. The same applies to enterprises that are working on their China market entry strategy: we offer support with our team in both Europe and China. The trade mission will undoubtedly be a rich source of inspiration. The first real steps can be exciting and – in the end – very rewarding. To anyone who is ready to try to connect to the Chinese consumer: welcome aboard our trade mission flight to China!”