Converge as a Meet Magento Organizer loves to take part in other Meet Magento events around the World. That’s what it is all about! So the first ever Meet Magento China is over, and so is the jet lag. The event, part of the Shenzhen International eCommerce Expo was a great success and congratulations to the organizer Pangoo for doing a great job with over 800 attendees and awesome speakers from all over the world, and Greece!
Taking part and speaking at the first ever Meet Magento China event in Shenzhen was for ne a very interesting experience that I would like to share with you.
First let’s start from the location, well, let me tell you China is far and huge. Shenzhen is across from Hong Kong where access is easy. You need a visa 60€ for a 10 day stay from Embassy also available a visa border for 22€ giving you a 5 day pass only. The total flight is long but you knew that already.
It is another Universe
Well apart from the geography and being far and huge, China is also so different from the rest of the world. Things work in a completely different way and we are talking about a whole new universe when it comes to doing business in ECommerce in China. This is mainly based on the following facts:
- Forget about google, google maps, google ads and so forth! Here it is a Baidu world. A different search engine with different rules of the game.
- No facebook either or any other acquired applications like Instagram or what’s up, I know you are thinking how do they survive! And therefore no facebook ads that’s for sure.
- The whole Social Media scene is taken over by wechat and of course, they chat, millions of them they chat and not only, they use the app for everything. It is a blend of what’s up, facebook feed with amazing add-on features like QR scanning, in-chat text translation, payments and the list goes on.
- QR code advertising! Well I have always been a fun ( I also have one on my business card) but here it is huge. People stop you in the street and they ask you to scan your wechat Id in order to send you through their wechat account ads. I suppose they don’t litter and plus they open and immediate channel to sell to you directly which brings me to my next point.
- Ecommerce, oh well even here business is not as usual. The market is dominated by the several giants with Alibaba leading the way. Marketplaces is the norm, everyone gets a place there with suffocating price completion, limited to no quality control and complete loss of branding. Therefore, anyone looking into promoting and building a brand needs to get an independent ecommerce business off the ground and this is where Meet Magento can help!
- Doing business in China is a challenge but it is not a long shot. Western brands are well received with the rising middle class seeking to find affordable and genuine products.
- There are ecommerce parks but no really ecommerce ecosystem so that is something Meet Magento Association can help in developing
About People and Culture
- In Greece when something is difficult to understand we say “it is all Chinese to me”, and in the west, they also say it’s all Greek to me, but this shows how big the language barrier is! I was lucky to have the cutest translator by my side, see for yourself
- Getting around was easy by metro or taxi and cheap. You feel safe as everything is still open at 11 at night and for sure I did, as I had international guardians at all times.
- About food, forget Chinese food as you know it. Be prepared for starvation unless you are super adventurous or you eat rice, tofu and weeds as your main diet.
- Building trust comes with a lot of Drinking. Toasts go around the table couple of times for anyone involved.
- Wear your wide big smile as photos are very popular. Thumbs up seems to be as common as say cheese.
In conclusion, it was a great experience and made some good friends and learnings!
Looking forward to the next Meet-Magento event !