ECommerce in China

China: World Leader in Ecommerce

This past month, on the 29th of May, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China released data showing that Chinese consumers purchase more things online than the United States.
Online retail sales in China have grown 41.2% since 2012, while the United States have only seen a 16.9% increase in 2013. This is in part due to China´s push and support for the development of new technologies and innovative business models that have become a cornerstone for economic growth in recent years.

This change in shopping habits is due to that fact that almost half of China´s population now has direct access to the Internet. Chinese Internet users grew by 8.5% making it 618 million users in late 2013. That same year, official figures from the Office of Electronic Commerce in China showed an increase of 24.7% in online consuming meaning 302 million Chinese people were going online to shop. Smart phones and tablets have become more popular as well since they cost less than a desktop computer or laptop. The accessibility of these mobile devices has enabled Chinese Internet users to grow as well. Those who use smart phones to browse the Internet went up by 19%, reaching 500 million.

Also noteworthy is the impact the Alibaba Group has in the marketplace. Its two large online stores, Taobao and Tmall, represent almost 84% of the volume of e-retail in China.

For further information follow the link (in Spanish) below.

Networking Training with Alex

Alex first started networking during his undergraduate studies where he was the general delegate in his university. Having that position taught him the importance of networking. Now he is the Operations Manager for IntuuChina where he helps match companies with interns. He will also conduct a workshop where he will train our interns for a networking event, as this service is part of our new Professional Services package.

He arrived in Shanghai in September 2015 and joined InterNations and groups on Meet Up to start making business contacts. Apart from that he also attended events hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. He made it his mission to always come out of these events and meet-ups with at least two contacts.

Today we sat down with Alex to give some tips to our readers about networking. Firstly, he states students have the advantage of constantly having contact with their professors who are well connected. It’s never too early to start networking as you never know who can help you in the future, which is why it’s always a good idea to also network with other students in your class.

  1. Try to focus on 5 - 10 people to introduce yourself to. When going to networking events there can be more than 100 people and it can feel overwhelming when you walk in alone. You can’t be everywhere at once so narrow down your choices.
  2. Don’t try to impress anybody, just be friendly and open. When introducing yourself be sincere and start with a simple “Hello, my name is…”
  3. See what you can do to help others not the other way around. After you’ve introduced each other and see you can offer your assistance, ask or tell them of your skills. If you ask how you can help them they will reciprocate.
  4. Focus on the person you’re talking to. Don’t look over their shoulder or around the room trying to find your next target. It’s rude and they will most likely notice that you clearly aren’t interested.
  5. Communicate with them! Don’t just hand out your business card and walk away. Try to avoid the typical general topics like, “how long have you been in Shanghai?” or “what do you like about China?”, instead go with “what are your future plans?” or “what’s the most difficult obstacle you’ve had to overcome?”
  6. Never give out your business card first, always wait until the end of your conversation. “Oh by the way here’s my business card...” It’s also a good way to excuse yourself and continue making contacts.
  7. Always follow up within two days with a personalized message. Let them know how it was nice to meet them and make a reference to your conversation. There is always a 70%-90% rate of them responding.
  8. Don’t waste your time talking to someone when you see you can’t help each other. Move on! They are probably thinking the same thing. If it’s clearly a conversation you’re both enjoying continue talking and get their business card as you never if you’ll be needing each other in the future.
  9. Join InterNations, it’s free to join their general events, which usually comprises of 150 – 200 people. You can also pay to go to exclusive events which are more intimate.

Bottom line is that you are there to network and everyone is there to do the same, so don’t be shy or nervous. If you need any more advice and tips contact us for more information on our professional services.

Some tips on networking in order to achieve getting contacts at networking events and for more training apply for our Professional Service package.

Video interview tips to help you prepare to become a better interviewee and succeed in getting a callback, an internship or job abroad.

Top 10 Essential Apps to have in China

  1. Pleco: This is one of the best Chinese-English dictionaries out there. It is filled with very helpful tools that can immensely facilitate your stay in China. Some of these useful features include handwriting recognition so you can draw characters you don’t know and voice recognition so you can get people to speak into it when you don’t understand what they’re saying. You can also download add-ons, like character flash cards that help you study on the go.
  2. Dianping: This is a great app for finding the best restaurants in town. It’s almost like a Chinese Yelp app. It comes in handy whenyou’re lost in the city looking for something fun to do. You can browse through nearby restaurants, coffee shops, cinemas, KTVs, etc. wherever you are. Each listing includes the address, contact info and a map so you can navigate your way around the city or show it to your taxi driver. The downside could be that it’s all in Chinese but that’s when the Pleco app can help.
  3. WeChat: This is one of the most popular free messaging services in China. The majority of people you meet will ask if you have a WeChat. Not only can you send messages but you can share pictures and videos with friends as well. WeChat also helps you connect with other people in your proximate area, which is great if you’re looking to socialize and connect with more people offline.
  4. Metroman Beijing/Shanghai: If you’re braving public transport this nifty little app is a must to help you navigate the Metro train system. All you have to do is type in your start and end point and let Metroman plan your trip.
  5. Google maps: Always a lifesaver, make sure to study it to plan your trips as it can save time looking lost in the streets.
  6. Air Quality China: This mobile app can check real time Air Quality Index (AQI) values of all major cities in China that are known for their air pollution problem. It can be updated automatically every 30 minutes using its widget.
  7. Taobao: Owned by the eCommerce titan Alibaba, is a shopping app as well as a web app that is similar to eBay and Amazon. It is one of the world’s top visited websites. You’re sure to find what you need here.
  8. City Weekend Beijing/Shanghai: This app allows users to browse venues as well as see and post reviews of them. It is similar to Dianping except that it’s directed more to expats as it was developed by China’s most popular expat magazine, City Weekend. It’s not just venues you can find here but the latest events that are happening in the ever fast changing city of Beijing and Shanghai.


Work ethic

Qualities of a Good/Strong Work Ethic

Work ethic is a keyword that can come up when doing job searches and may even come up during one of your job interviews. Questions and requests like, “Describe your work ethic”, “We are looking for someone with a strong work ethic”, and “what does work ethic mean to you?” are the typical. If you haven’t already thought of an answer to those questions or are scratching your head as you’re not sure what work ethic means, we will first start off with defining it for you.

Work ethic is the value you base on consistent and earnest hard work and the moral benefits you achieve because of it. There are certain qualities that a person with a strong work ethic possesses. When interviewing applicants, HR managers will look for examples of a good work ethic. So make sure to back-up “I have a strong work ethic” with examples.

Some qualities of a strong work ethic are as follows:

  • Work smart – Apart from working hard, working smart means strategizing to become more efficient in the work place. Speed up your productivity and make the most of it while in the office.
  • Integrity – This morally-good and honest quality helps you foster trusting relationships within the company whether with colleagues or with clients.
  • Responsibility – When an employee feels a sense of responsibility they will be more likely to show up on time ready to work every day, meet deadlines and follow the company’s guidelines.
  • Emphasis on Quality – The quality of the work you produce isn’t the bare minimum, you go on and beyond of what is expected. You care about the quality content you produce.
  • Discipline – When working in front of a computer it can be very tempting to slack off and surf the web mindlessly or check your Facebook, but having discipline means you have the dedication and commitment and strive to do your part.
  • Cooperation – Although you may excel when working individually, you can adjust and work just as well in a team.

These are just a few qualities which makes a strong work ethic. If you have any or all of these qualities you can show them off at your next job interview but be sure to follow them with a specific example.

3D Printing

When people think of Chinese architecture the pagoda is most likely the first thing they see. A design with religious significance, it is widely seen in movies and tv and has become a cliché in its own right. These buildings followed strict guidelines on their construction and their style remained largely unchanged for thousands of years being greatly influenced by the principles of Fengshui. In the past few decades China has made a radical departure from this highly ritualized approach to architecture as they employ people from all over the world to design city skylines that surprise and captivate the eyes. Having pushed the limits of design China has moved on to changing traditional methods of construction.

Winsun Decoration Design Engineering Co. has built a revolutionary 3D printer that can produce affordable housing at lower construction costs. Last year they demonstrated its capabilities by constructing 10 single story houses in less than 24 hours. At a construction cost of only $5,000 these houses present a solution for countries with serious housing issues. The Egyptian government has ordered 20,000 units giving low-income families an affordable

Traditional construction sites have become a liability creating large amounts of waste and producing carbon emissions. They are a general nuisance being noisy, dusty, dangerous and wasteful. Winsun’s printer addresses this issue by using recycled construction materials mixed with glass fiber and a concrete base to create their houses which are printed off site and assembled on site. It is a much safer and more efficient means of building and an elegant solution for companies trying to reduce pollution and eliminate inefficiencies.

Adaptability and versatility are key components of Winsun’s printer. It operates on software that is easily changed meaning it can use local materials to create the “ink” used for printing. It also allows for architects to change designs to comply with local construction regulations or simply for aesthetic value preventing repetitive “cookie-cutter” houses and neighborhoods. Architects can also experiment and push their creativity as Winsun has already created luxury houses that are complete with interior and exterior decorations. A Taiwanese real estate company has ordered 10 sets of a mansion recently demonstrated in Suzhou, China. Aside from the obvious benefit of middle class families being able to afford higher end housing these constructs are capturing the attention of the world promoting the possibilities of 3D printing and inspiring architects to build better, faster, cheaper and safer.

3D printing was a groundbreaking technology that is still being explored and experimented with. Its uses and applications are only limited by the ingenuity and creativity of the designers, architects, engineers and even artists. Winsun and many other companies in China are giving these people the opportunity to make an impact on the architectural world and radically change traditional notions of construction.