China is not one-size-fits-all

China is not one-size-fits-all

9 out of 10 Western brands have Chinese consumers pegged as one homogenous group.

So they often take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to market entry when hyper segmentation gets far better results.

Their approach is flawed for a number of reasons, but even as an anthropology student, I fell prey to it as well.

I came to China to do fieldwork on minorities in Yunnan in 1995. Young, full of hope….and DUMB. I knew nothing, but thought I did.

What my younger self and Western brands have in common is the belief that we could survive and thrive anywhere…without a deeper understanding of our environment.

Needless to say, this approach FAILED and I ended up near death with Typhoid Fever.

China is a big and complicated environment with over 450 minorities and dialects…and countless cultural idiosyncrasies, legacy systems and unique traditions that vary widely from place to place.

Decades later, I still consider myself a student of China. Only this time, a humble and open-minded one…an approach that never fails.

#China #InternationalBusiness #ChinaBusiness #Western #Brands #MarketEntry #Segmentation #NeverStopLearning #Anthropology #Student

China: Back to the Future

I was recently asked by a reporter to predict a post-crisis future for China…something I’m not comfortable doing.

That’s because normal, everyday life often feels like a Bruce Sterling novel come to life…where the near future collapses into the present moment.

Let me explain…

I now live in Hong Kong, a place that is running on solid systems and stack infrastructure from the 80’s. And it is still highly functional in many respects. But anyone who works in China knows that Hong Kong isn’t the future.

Every time I fly to Shanghai I tell people I’m going, “Back to the Future,” because each time I return something big has changed (usually for good.)

In my view, there’s no need to predict the future because it is happening NOW.

New technologies are being introduced and adopted en mass, changing habits and cultural norms on a real-time basis.

In eCommerce, the biggest change we see is everything merging into one seamless experience.
Every functional role facing digital commerce must up-skill and cross pollinate.

It’s become an enormous, ever-expanding ecosystem that is increasingly more nuanced. And it’s filled with tripwires.

That makes it extremely difficult to navigate. To be successful, not only do you have to master ecosystem dynamics, but also be ready to change at a moment’s notice.

#China #HongKong #BackToTheFuture #ChinaBusiness #eCommerce #InternationalBusiness #Change #Adapt

Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind

COVID-19 plunged us into a new reality where everything changes in real time. Disruption isn’t a pitch at a start up event. It’s your life.

And I think the biggest lesson we’ll learn from China is…the value of moving FAST.

I see this every day at work. The minute we get used to existing systems, things change. And I’m not talking about a slight shift…

I mean an overnight disruption. There is an event…a new app being introduced (hello TikTok) or a huge change in consumer behavior and you have to learn a new game.

And the nice thing is whenever the game changes, you have a chance to really grow.

“Opportunity favors the prepared mind.”

Early adopters often become market leaders. It’s a cycle that repeats.

Have you taken the right position…not as an incumbent defending your turf, but a fresh face seeing opportunities to break the status quo?

Right now we’re at a pivotal moment. And it’s probably time to fill your cup.

#China #eCommerce #COVID19 #Change #EarlyAdopter #Opportunity #Disruption #Adapt #Success #Entrepreneur

Why China May Fare Better Financially Than Western Countries in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Why China May Fare Better Financially Than Western Countries in the Aftermath of COVID-19

When all is said and done, China (or at least the average Chinese citizen) may fare better than their Western counterparts during the current economic crisis. Here’s why:

  1. Most Chinese citizens 40 years and older don’t have liabilities like Americans & other Westerners. They don’t carry personal debt on credit cards. While the younger generation is much more likely to have personal debt, their older relatives aren’t.
  2. Having a significant personal savings is the norm. Even those without savings often have parents that can act as a life preserver if their ship sinks…so to speak.
  3. Living paycheck to paycheck is less common amongst Chinese citizens. A higher priority is put on living within your means in comparison to the West. Cultural factors also help…for example you won’t find a payday loan businesses in China.

From a financial standpoint, it doesn’t mean the crisis isn’t painful, but I think most Chinese are positioned better to make it through.

And for those that don’t fare well, the Chinese emphasis on community – be it family, friends, or a greater network of colleagues – will help carry them through.

#China #Westerners #Americans #COVID19 #Debt #Savings #PersonalFinance

Choosing the Best Remote Collaboration Tool…What to Consider

Choosing the Best Remote Collaboration Tool…What to Consider

In our case, our main operations team typically works in the same office. #Communication is immediate and face to face. People are used to using physical whiteboards and walking up to each other to quickly ask questions and solve issues.

There are tons of tasks involved in running any Tmall store. Many of these tasks are urgent and often involve different departments. Having to go remote all of a sudden made the management and tracking of those tasks a lot more difficult.

We needed to replicate the #whiteboard and maintain #accountability on all tasks.

Most people do not come from a tech background, so our tool of choice had to be ridiculously simple to use. We needed to be able to visually organize all tasks and set clear responsibilities.

Our team is also predominantly Chinese so we absolutely needed a Chinese UI. To add to that, we didn’t want our tool of choice to need a VPN.

So our needs pretty much ruled out all the top #collaboration apps that make the news in China… as well as most of the popular ones in the US.

Check back soon to learn what our team has found over countless hours of research….as well as our top picks (that we’re ACTUALLY using.)

#WorkingRemotely #RemoteCollaboration #China #InternationalBusiness 

What remote collaboration tool works best?

What remote collaboration tool works best?

The current crisis has instigated a no holds barred contest between remote collaboration tools.

It seems like EVERYONE is offering unlimited free trials until May. Bytedance’s collaboration app Lark (Feishu) doubled their daily active users in the first week after Chinese New Year. Tencent upped the stakes by banning all links to Lark in WeChat because they have WeChat Work on their agenda.

This is a dog eat dog world.

So, if your company suddenly has to work remotely, but you weren’t already using these collaboration apps…

How do you pick the right one from this bunch?

These collaboration apps don’t solve all problems (despite what their websites may say!) So you need to think about…

What are the biggest challenges your organization faces when all of a sudden people can’t just talk face to face? Every organization is different…with a unique set of personalities, working styles, and needs to keep in mind.

Over the next few days we’ll share what our team has found over countless hours of research….as well as our top picks (that we’re ACTUALLY using.) Stay tuned…

#WorkingRemotely #RemoteCollaboration #WorkingFromHome #StayConnected #CollaborationTools #InternationalBusiness #ChinaBusiness