On Thursday, June 8th, 2017, BorderXLab, creator of the Beyond别样 App, hosted the third edition of the Selling Cross Border To China: 3rd X-Commerce Micro Conference in San Francisco. Bringing together partners, brands and thought-leaders in the U.S.-China cross-border space, the conference focused on emerging trends, pain points, and solutions in the burgeoning B2C Haitao market, which is anticipated the topple the $50 billion USD mark by the end of 2017.
I was asked to participate in the second panel, entitled “Selling to China: An Ecosystem Partner’s Perspective.” Along side was Jin He, Senior International Business Manager at Union Mobile Finance and Peter (Bei) Qin, Chief Operations Office at SV Insight. Moderated by Angel Zhou from the BorderXLab marketing department, below is a brief sketch of the questions and the answers that I supplied via my representation of 360zebra and the overall e-commerce logistics industry as a whole.
Question: What are the pain points for brands selling to China and how do you help?
Answer: There are many pain points for brands selling to China, including but not limited to poor efficiency of overseas logistics, China customs clearance regulations and fluctuations in policy, intensifying competition amongst same categories, difficulty in cultivating customer loyalty and overall high barrier of market entry. 360zebra helps by providing state of the art logistics solutions to e-commerce players, managing every mile of the product movement from first mile to last mile. Specifically, we help American companies clear customs in an effective and efficient manner and help increase their overall logistics efficiency via consultation and service implementation.
Question: Can you give an actual example of a company you’ve worked with? If you need to keep their name confidential, please share the industry.
Answer: Keeping the names confidential, we work with the majority of major platforms in China providing them with logistics solutions, acting as the official 3PL provider. Additionally, we are currently working with a major international platform, helping Western merchants better expand to China via providing shipping and logistics solutions.
Question: What do you see as some of the major regulatory and legal challenges facing the cross-border trade with China? How much do you feel like your current model of doing business could be affected in the near future by such changes?
Answer: E-commerce is still a relatively new industry and the Chinese government is still in an experimental phase in terms of implementing regulations and caps. There are three major channels for shipping and customs clearance to China: BC (Business to Consumer), CC (Consumer to Consumer) and UPU (Universal Postal Union). All have different benefits and pros and cons. For BC, there is a 20,000 RMB spending limit per individual. If a retailer ships an item to a customer who has exceeded the cap, there is no way for the item to clear customs. Many retailers choose the CC model to send items; however, it is likely that this model will change in the near future, which would require more and more e-commerce enterprises to migrate over to the BC or UPU channel. In essence, e-commerce customs clearance channels will likely see an optimized overhaul in the coming years, which will affect the way and the choices available for e-commerce players to ship to China. However, regulations will likely make the process more efficient and we embrace such changes.
Question (To 360zebra): Recently, It’s reported that some big logistic players in China, including SF express and YTO express, have pending fraud allegations. Their affiliates are working with some factories making fraudulent goods and selling them as products from overseas merchants. Say People find a “Daigo” online to purchase overseas goods for them and the “Daigo” only offers shipping service with those fraud making affiliates, then it becomes very easy for the Daigo to cheat on customers and gain money from it. What is your comment on that? How do logistic companies win customers’ trust?
Answer: It can be difficult to win over customers’ trusts when the situation you mentioned regarding the grey market and fake goods and information are all too common in China. The best way to earn customers’ trust is to consistently provide a high level of transparent, high and dependable service. From there, word of mouth, via customers and the brands service, will help increase the overall trust. For 360zebra, we pride ourself in our commitment to a zero policy of errors and hold ourselves to high standards in making sure every package reaches its final destination in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Having the right consumer-facing partner is important too. For instance, Bieyang’s business model is extremely attractive to Chinese consumers, bridging cultural and technological differences and preferences between the US and China. Innovative one-stop solution platform such as these with great consumer experiences also help win customer’s long-term trust.
Overall, the panel and the conference proved to be thought-provoking a great chance to exchange ideas with movers and shakers in the China cross-border e-commerce industry.