Azoya

What foreign brands need to know to succeed in China ecommerce: An interview with Elena Gatti

by Pinduoduo

This interview was originally published by Pinduoduo Inc.


In an interview on The China Ecommerce Podcast, Elena Gatti, managing director of Europe for Azoya, a Shenzhen-based e-commerce enabler, says while enquiries from international brands have skyrocketed recently, challenges remain as many businesses have not done their homework well when it comes to China’s shopping culture.

In an interview on The China Ecommerce Podcast, Elena Gatti, managing director of Europe for Azoya, a Shenzhen-based e-commerce enabler, says while enquiries from international brands have skyrocketed recently, challenges remain as many businesses have not done their homework well when it comes to China’s shopping culture.

KCB: The unprecedented coronavirus crisis is driving more and more people to shop online in China, and overseas brands are seeking this very market too. Your workload must have increased tremendously.

ELENA GATTI: Yes, the inquiries coming from international brands are increasing quite a lot, and, here’s why — China is the first country now getting out of the crisis, and the second point is a long lockdown of Chinese consumers. They had even more time to get engaged with brands and find out for themselves, which brands do I like, and also make a deepened search on international brands. So yes, our work has increased quite a lot, which is actually very good for us.

KCB: Where is the traffic coming from mostly?

EG: China is a great consumption market so we are talking about Japan, South Korea, Germany, Australia, France, and also UK, let’s say the countries who are mostly looking to sell into China cross border e-commerce. All the countries supply something different, different focus, they don’t want to export the same category.

Livestreaming on Pinduoduo from the Pandora store in the heart of Shanghai’s shopping district

KCB: Even on Pinduoduo, with Europe entering recession, there has been an increase in European brands wanting to list themselves. We’ve had an Italian multi-brand distributor selling known brands like Swarovski and Givenchy, as well as not-so-known brands because, like you said, the Chinese are clearly exploring more to know what’s out there, other than what’s evident to them.

EG: Yes, and if you look at the different countries, for example from Germany and Netherlands, it’s a lot about mom and baby and other products. We talked about Italy and France — it’s about fashion, luxury and kind of higher-end brands. Then Australia, which was more about mom and baby, and UK, they are more on fashion. So it’s every country has its own DNA, which makes our job even more exciting.

KCB: With the coronavirus pandemic situation, what kind of change have you personally seen in terms of the inquiries that are coming in?

EG: It’s a higher amount of inquiries. So, two or three years ago I was busy educating brands and international retailers about China as a consumer market, and not only as an import market but also in export market. We would talk about two categories like beauty and fast moving consumer goods, and about cars, which is another story. But at that time, we used to do a lot of education. Now, I feel, the perspective has moved from young to be more mature. So the brands look like they know more about China, the media are talking more about China as a consumer country of cross border e-commerce with different platforms, different market possibilities. So clearly companies have become more knowledgeable and they’re reading so much more.  Find more information about the interview.