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Dec 06, 2018 @ 05:12 by Alexander Voss

Key Insights from our INSIDE CHINA SUMMIT 2018

Looking back to our Inside China Summits during the last years, a lot of development has happened to the digital market in China. Especially AI, big data and platform economy seem to be the key to success. What have we learned during our five days in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing? Why are some foreign brands more successful in China than others? What is the difference between Chinese and European digital companies? Join us on our journey through the Silicon Dragon!

China is working more consequently on digitalisation

To touch innovations coming from China ourselves we went on a retail tour and visited concept stores, which were great examples for the new retail adoption of O2O. 

The combination of AI, robots and human contacts enable to offer personalised products to the customer in real-time and to combine digitalisation with on-side shopping experience. Companies need to deliver freshness, they need to understand their consumer to remain relevant offline. Nike enables to customize shoes, Ratio offered personalized coffees and cocktails made by a robot and Mac lets you test their products on your face using a magic mirror – brands that managed it to achieve brand attitude in China by listening to their customer’s needs. And progress doesn't stop: most of them are pop-up stores, so they work more consequently on new concepts, experience and implement new idea. Key learning: the combination of using AI and listening to your customers leads to success.

Magic Mirror in the MAC store in Shanghai lets you test their products on your face directly.

Chinese digital companies are highly strategically and flexible – they are creating a platform economy.

To explore the success factors of Chinese companies, we visited the management reception and listened to panels of the most innovative and well-known companies in China: Alibaba, JD, DiDi and Souche. Despite different company histories (all of them entered the market less than 30 years ago), industries or target groups, they all had one thing in common: they are creating bigger platforms and networks instead of focusing on eCommerce. Key learning: it’s all about data, data, data!

INSIDE CHINA SUMMIT group picture at the Alibaba headquarters - China's global digital data giant

The government in China follows a sustainable strategy and is fast in decision making – it decides about the success of the companies

China and Germany differ in the role of the government and in order to better understand how business and politics interact in China, we were part of the first Import-Expo in Shanghai and the fourth D20 in Hangzhou. The digital spirit in China is very strongly promoted by the government – that is why political and business leaders came together at both events. Key learning: before you can do business with China, you need to understand the importance of the government there.

Accenture Keynote during China's first International Import Expo (CIIE) - The most important national-level expo for the Chinese government and entry point for foreign businesses in China.

German companies should focus on building a digital infrastructure and becoming more agile. They need to push more, losing their fear of making mistakes and start transforming now

Germany and China differ in culture, innovation, attitude towards digitalization, as well as in the way business is done. However, these differences should be used to learn from each other. German companies should think of how they can benefit from the way Chinese business is done and how the development in China can be transferred into their businesses.

Chinese companies should use the link to Germany to understand how we do business before expanding to our country. The big keyword is: Cooperation.

Please visit our INSIDE CHINA SUMMIT website if you want to find out more about our trip. If you want to continue the dialogue about what Western companies can learn from China's digital innovation ecosystem, please do get in touch with our team.

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