“People often look at the US to see what will happen to us in the near future, but when you talk about e-commerce it is China to look at.” According to Ching Ping Au from the company Your Op, “China offers a view to the future.”

Your Op focuses on business development and market entree for European companies in Asia and China in particular. Co-founder Ching Ping Au was one of the speakers at the Foodvalley Breakfast Session Exploring the Chinese Market on 13 February 2019 in Wageningen.

Importance of e-commerce

During the Foodvalley Breakfast Session she stressed the importance of people doing business in China being aware of how big e-commerce in the country actually is. “In 2010 there were 130 million people buying online, the same amount as in the United States. Now in China there are three times as much consumers buying online as in the US, and the amount is still growing. So, in China the playing field is much bigger.”

The popularity of e-commerce is related to the high rate of cell phone possession. “Last year 57% of the total population had access to internet and 54% of the total population are mobile internet users. Paying is easy. Everything offline and online is integrated, the technology is user friendly. In China, you don’t need a wallet anymore, just your cell phone is sufficient.”

Imported food attractive

Imported food is very attractive for Chinese people. “Chinese don’t trust their own food after many cases of food fraud. They expect products from abroad to be more safe because of the stricter control regimes. Moreover, in China there is a growing middle class that have the means to by the imported products.”

Branding and selling

She argues that branding is important. “Local people and expertise are indispensable if you want to build a brand. It is common to hire key opinion leaders, influencers, for example models or actresses.”

Ching Ping Au discourages Dutch SMEs to sell products through their own website. It is more effective to benefit from existing platforms. “Alibaba and JD.com are the biggest ones.”

Breakfast Session

During the Foodvalley Breakfast Session Exploring the Chinese Market, Yellow Valley Farmhouse Cheese shared their experiences in setting up a cheese business in China. Jasmin Buijs from Wageningen University & Research and Axon Lawyers spoke about ‘Access to the market: differences between European and Chinese Food Law.’

Foodvalley organized ‘Exploring the Chinese market’ together with New Frontiers in Food – Fast Forward (NF4) and GO4EXPORT.


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