The start of a dog year
Hope you are doing well! I have managed to kick-start the New Year twice now, first the New Year on the 1st of January which I celebrated in Hong Kong and then the Chinese New Year on the 16th February which I celebrated with my family in Malmö – so now I’m more than ready for what 2018 and the Year of the Dog will bring!
At the start of this trainee program, it felt like six months at each market was a long time. But now that the first six-month period has flown past, I realize that time passes very quickly when you’re working and especially when you’re having fun. At the beginning of February, I was not ready to leave Beijing and China at all, since I have had such a great time here both at work and socially. To sum up, it has been fun, intense and extremely rewarding. As it turned out, I was given the chance to stay on and spend my second half-year period between the Beijing and Hong Kong offices. Unlike most of my fellow trainees who will rotate to a whole new market, I will be able to deepen my knowledge about China and the APAC region – which I am very happy about!
An interesting and hot topic to deepen my knowledge in would be e-commerce for instance. How does it really work? What are the opportunities for Swedish companies? Business Sweden has released a brand new report called Digital China – Succeeding in the world’s largest e-commerce market that provides an in-depth look at China’s unique digital marketplace and offers guidance for small and medium-sized Swedish companies that are looking to enter the B2C e-commerce market in China. “In summary, China’s digital market place is large, complex, multi-faceted, rapidly evolving and unlike anywhere else in the world.” – Exciting!
According to the report, the average consumer on the Chinese online market is well-educated, middle-class, lives in a higher-tier city, is app savvy and shops from home – that sounds like me!
Looking back at my mission to become a Chinese consumer a couple of months ago, how did it go? Well, by now I would consider myself almost ”fluent” in the digital lifestyle of a local consumer, even though I am not close to being fully learned and still discover new things all the time.
This is how a convenient and comfortable day could look like:
- In the morning, I walk up to an orange bike on the street, scan the smart-lock with the Mobike app, ride through the morning traffic and park the bike outside the office building.
- In the convenience store, I grab a baozi (steamed stuffed bun) and a cup of hot soy milk, and pay with my smartphone at the counter.
- I pass by some express delivery guys on the street who are sorting a pile of packages. I wonder if they have anything for me? It turns out they do, the package I ordered yesterday arrives to my desk.
- Time for lunch? My colleagues and I go to our favourite Sichuan restaurant (called Top Choice) were the waiters are always busy, but that’s alright. We place the order through the tablet and pay the bill with a smartphone by scanning the QR-code on the table.
- Passing by some trees on the street that I have never seen before. In response to my curiosity, there are QR-codes hanging on the trees which brings me directly to the Baidu Encyclopedia page. (I found this in Beihai Park)
- The sun has set and I’m starting to get hungry again, but too lazy to go outside and still have some work to finish before leaving. Placing a food delivery order at this point does the trick to surge my productivity and motivation while I count down the minutes it takes for the salad or sushi to be delivered to the office.
- It’s Friday evening, the weekend has begun and I’m ready to grab a drink with friends at Jing-A, a popular brewery/bar that easily gets crowded. No worries, I put myself on the waiting list on their public WeChat account and will receive a notification when my table is ready
- In the meantime, I get ready and order a Didi ride. It arrives just as I step out of the elevator on the ground floor
- Walking in a shopping mall with friends and suddenly feel like singing? No problem at all, there are un-manned karaoke booths for you to let it all out for 20 minutes.
- It’s getting late and with so many digital functions relying on my smartphone, the battery is running low. No need to stress about carrying chargers around because most restaurants, cafes, bars and public spaces have charging stations or power banks for rent. (I actually rented a power bank in Shanghai once and returned it the next day in Beijing!)
Does it make you want to move to China too?
I recently attended a Start-up Grind event with the Chinese billion dollar start-up Mobike – the world’s first station-less bike share service. A fascinating story of how they reached more than 200 million users in more than 180 cities in less than two years!