What is a Digital Concierge Service?
73% of Chinese online shoopers would be more likely to buy something if the website offered free shipping- that’s the verdict of AlphaWise, the research arm of Morgan Stanley, who surveyed 1000 consumers from 14 tier-one and tier two cities in China. Demand for shipping services to Asia is driving the emergence of third-party logistics companies, who call themselves ‘Digital Concierge Services’. ComGateway, based in Singapore, is one such company. Online shoppers in Asia can order products from US online stores that do not deliver internationally by providing a US address. Shoppers buying from Chinese online retailers, such as Taobao and Tmall, can use Dimbuy.com’s warehouse as a local delivery address before repackaging them and sending them overseas. Shoppers can choose to collect their package at the store of their choice, or have their purchases delivered to their door.
Jiepang Wins at Chinese Checkers
“Jiepang is a location-based, social app. By checking-in and creating a photo album dedicated to your favourite places, you can make those special moments in your life last forever” - www.jiepang.com. Jiepang’s success where others have failed is to offer users a variety of different ways to share content. There are 16 unique photo-sharing/editing templates – whether checking-in at a restaurant, a bar, or home sweet home, users can add customised graphics for each location. Traditionally seen as a high-end app used only by middle-class people in first tier cities, Jiepang is now targeting consumers in second and third tier cities, who are beginning to buy their first ever smart phones. Unlike compeititors, Jiepang has integrated WeChat into its latest platform, Jiepang 5.0. In the game of Chinese checkers that is check-in apps, Jiepang is winning.
Sina’s Online Banking Platform
Sina, the Chinese tech giant behind microblogging platform Sina Weibo, has announced that it plans to launch an online banking platform in September – WeiBank. Sina has yet to disclose specific details of business model, and the degree to which the product is integrated with Sina’s other products –is unknown. The announcement comes as Sina continues to revamp Sina Weibo with an eye towards monetization. Last year the site introduced a Google+ style layout that granted advertisers more opportunities to promote their products, and rolled out a VIP-tier subscription offering special features to users.
The Pursuit of Free Shipping
Free or cheap shipping seems to be decisive for shoppers to pick their favorite online retailers. This is according to a study conducted by AlphaWise, which surveyed 8,000 respondents from 8 different countries, including China. Among the Chinese study sample 73 percent of them indicated they would buy more online if retailers provided with free shipping. While free shipping is common among US ecommerce retailers, the dilemma lies in that many of them do not provide international delivery or charge extensively for it, thus, being troublesome to Asia online shoppers, who often prefer to buy from US online stores due to the vast selection of products they poses. This scenario has promoted the emergence of different logistics providers, such as comGateway, which allows Asia online shoppers access to products from US online stores that do not deliver internationally by providing a US address, which is comGateway’s warehouse. In addition, comGateway also allows Asia online shopper to economize on shipping by allowing them to consolidate their purchases from different online stores at the comGateway facility before repackaging for a single international delivery.
Source: Retail In Asia
“Price Checkers” Overwhelm Australian Stores
'They will take photos with their iPhone and write down things, they'll come in with a piece of paper, walk around the store … and then just walk out'' says Mr Gordin when describing “price checkers.” Mr. Gordin is chief executive of Bike Force Australia, a bicycle shop with 20 locations across Australia. Lately he has seen an increasing number of “price checkers” who come into his store with the sole purpose of searching for prices to compare with overseas online stores. The increase of “price checkers,” however, is not just evident in bicycle shops, “price checkers” seem to have become more and more evident in all of Australia’s shopping strips. There are two reasons why Australian shoppers are turning to overseas online shops: pricing and a greater range of goods available. This is why analysts say that even in the case of the fall of the Australian dollar, Australian shoppers will unlikely turn back to shop domestically, since large amounts of brands simply cannot be found in Australia.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Mobile Internet in China . . . Unstoppable!
In only the first six months of this year the number of Chinese mobile Internet users increased by 43.8 million, thus by the end of June the number of mobile Internet users in China reached a total of 464 million! These numbers indicate that an impressing 80% of Chinese people who use the Internet do it though smartphones. In fact, the growth rate of mobile Internet in China seems to be much larger than the growth rate of traditional Internet, this is mainly due to the rapid expansion of third-generation communication infrastructure and the increasing outreach of smartphones in the Chinese market.
Google China Will be in New Hands
Google has announced that John Liu, Google’s head of Greater China and global vice president, will be leaving the company soon. Liu will be departing the company to pursue other opportunities and will be replaced by Scott Beaumont, who is currently in charge of Google’s partnerships business in Europe. Beaumont will face a tough battle in China. Even though phones based on Google’s Android operating system have been very successful in China, Google’s search engine has been going downhill in China due to a greater competition from new Chinese search engines, in addition, Chinese regulatory and legal systems have also limited Google from conducting business as it successfully does in North America.
Source: China tech News
UnionPay’s Portable Mobile Payment Device
There is now a portable payment device that can be attached to smart phones. Shanghai-based UnionPay has been beefing up its presence on the retail front in the face of the rising number of mobile apps offered by non-financial payment firms such as Alipay. Smartphone users with iOS and Android operating systems can use the portable device to check the balance of their debit cards and pay credit card bills, as well as public utility fees and conduct real-time transfer to other China UnionPay debit cards. Other third party payment service providers like Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's Tenpay also offer similar cross-bank transfer service but usually the transfer takes at least one working day to go through. UnionPay’s device is now available for purchase at JD.com.
China’s Online Population Is on the Rise
44 percent of the Chinese population now uses the Internet, meaning that China’s Internet user population has grown to 591 million. This is a 10 percent rise in the total Internet users over a year earlier. This growth has been mainly attributed to a 20 percent rise over the past year in the number of people who access the Internet through their mobile devices. The communist government has played a significant role in this increase of Internet users as they have been strongly promoting the Internet for business and educational purposes.
China Luxury Retail
It’s Not Just the Devil Who Wears Prada
As China's middle class swells, foreign and domestic retail groups are opening discount outlet malls to help mainlanders get luxury bargains closer to home. Three out of four Chinese tourists visit Value Retail’s UK outlets, making them one of the top tourist destinations for Chinese visitors to the UK. They spend more per transaction than shoppers from any other country. The Wuxi mall, which attracted over 100,000 visitors and generated 5.6 million yuan in sales on the first day, is part of a chain of successful outlet malls operated by Shanghai Bailian Group, China's second-largest retailer.