More than a billion people are connected to the Internet in China, making its ecommerce the largest in the world, even more so than that of the United States. Albert Antonini Mangia, Director of Marketing Southern Europe at Alibaba Group, tells MISA students about the huge market.
One of the most important things to know if you want to do business in China is not necessarily the language but rather the cultural norms expected in the country, such as how people think, act and spend their free time, says Albert Antonini Mangia, the Author of "Digital Marketing & Ecommerce" and Marketing Director Southern Europe at Alibaba Group.
"We know that it is the most populous country in the world with a booming middle class, but it is not just a matter of numbers,” he adds. “Traditional large-scale retail is not as widespread as it is in the West, which gives plenty of room for the development of the digital market. It’s safe to say that China has all the right cards to take the position of the world's leading economy."
Albert gave the students of the Master in Imprenditorialità e Strategia Aziendale (MISA) in his lesson for the Global Strategy Series, a series of sessions on the business models of international markets.
"In China, there is a digital ecosystem that is completely different from what we know in the West," Albert says, "because there are no big American tech companies like there are in Europe or North America. The market is dominated by groups like Alibaba, the leader in ecommerce, Tencent and Bytedance in social media, and Baidu with its search engine. In fact, an ecosystem of local apps have developed in China that do the same tasks, and you should be aware of them if you want to do business there."
Just as MISA students are taught, each international market has unique aspects that entrepreneurs need to be aware of to adapt their business strategy. China is 30 times larger than Italy and has many large, isolated rural areas. Doing business there requires local partners so that you can understand the habits of consumers, whose language and culture are totally different from ours.
"In China, mobile payment apps are used every day to pay online and in stores, even street beggars use a QR Code to receive assistance. Some say that China, which was the first country in the world to invent and use paper money, could be the first to abandon cash for mobile payment apps, used by more than 900 million consumers," Albert explains. "If you want to sell online, your products must be on the marketplaces most used by Chinese consumers, such as Taobao, Tmall or Tmall Global, because here no one visits the individual websites of brands to buy online. Today, there are hundreds of Italian companies on Alibaba's marketplaces for selling online to China and the world."
Albert's expertise provided inspiring testimony, as well as a concrete example of the MISA Master's distinctive teaching approach, which aims to "ground" theoretical concepts in practical situations and help participants develop resilience and adaptability to different international markets.
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