Marco Gervasi’s recent book East-Commerce has thrown into sharp contrast the impact that Chinese e-commerce is having on Asia and the rest of the world, and how external players can benefit from investing into the space. His 10 years spent in China helping international companies enter and grow in the market has given him a unique position to comment on what is often an opaque subject, and we are incredibly excited to have him join us at the upcoming E-Commerce Show Asia.
We recently caught up with Marco and asked him a few questions about his book, Chinese models for growth, and the impact of the ongoing financial instability on future prospects:
Can you give us a quick summary of what East-Commerce is all about?
China is now the biggest Internet and e-commerce market in the world, the biggest hardware producer in the world, and is poised to dominate the upcoming Internet of Things market. East-Commerce allows readers a rare glimpse into how China will shape the global online world for the next decade. It features hundreds of interviews with such influential companies and investors as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi, Yihaodian, Cogobuy, Rocket Internet, Didi-Kuaidi Taxi, Snapdeal, Tokopedia, DST Global, Credit Suisse, UBS, Qiming Ventures and many more, and gives an insider’s view of the key considerations to making lucrative investments in this powerful sector.
What lessons do you think Southeast Asia can learn from the growth of Chinese e-commerce?
The revolutionary e-commerce model developed by China, a mixture of technology, connectivity and mobiles, is now seen as an inspiration by developing and developed countries. Examples can be seen in India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil where local platforms do not call themselves the Amazon or the eBay of that country anymore, but aspire to now become the Alibaba and Taobao.
I think that this very model developed in China is now appearing outside its borders and spreading into the world because it is more advanced than those developed in the West. This is why I have decided to call my book: East-Commerce. I firmly believe that understanding how China’s online market operates gives the edge when conquering emerging markets.
How do you see the current financial instability in China impacting their e-commerce industry?
I think that nothing has really changed. The underlying consumption growth is still there. Internet and e-commerce play a very important role in China’s present and future development. China has been a key source of growth for international companies for decades, but in 2015 GDP’s growth has slowed to a figure deemed to be somewhere between 5 and 7%. The share price of some of China’s e-commerce and Internet platforms has decreased in value – sometime even considerably. Hence the world is questioning China’s future. According to a study from a well known Think Tank, The Demand Institute, and Nielsen – Sold in China – in the next decade China’s GDP growth will slow even more. Why is it so? China is trying to shift from an economy dependent on export and investments toward domestic consumption. Chinese economy appears to look more and more like a two-headed dragon. One side is slowing down – export and investments- while another – the tertiary sector – is still growing. What role do Internet and e-commerce play in this growth? They are the underlying force behind a new class of consumers: the “connected consumers”. According to another report from The Demand Institute – No more Tiers – by 2025 the connected consumers will account for 80% of growth in consumption and connectivity will almost single handedly sustain their growth, giving them access to information and retail channels.
We’ve recently seen Rakuten pull out of several markets in Southeast Asia. Do you forsee more e-commerce brands struggling at international expansion in this current climate?
I am not an expert on what Rakuten is doing. However, I foresee a strong consolidation in the market and expect e-commerce market places (platforms) to be more successful than Amazon like sites.
Why are you excited to join us and speak at E-Commerce Show Asia?
Asia is where e-commerce will have the biggest growth in the next ten years. This is where the new global trends will be shaped. I am very excited to join E-commerce Show Asia as it is a great opportunity to learn what is happening in real time in one of the most dynamic sector in the world’s economy. It is also a great opportunity to network and meet the people who are behind the e-commerce growth. What they think and what they foresee for the coming year is key to understand what are the key drivers to follow and how to remain competitive in a very crowded market.
As well as presenting within the premium conference, Marco will also be doing a book signing at 2pm on 20th April. To get your ticket to attend the E-Commerce Show Asia click here.