Gateway ’17

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend Gateway ’17 on September 25, where over 3,500 large and small Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals met to discuss methods to leverage the rising power of Chinese consumer spending, and more specifically, the role Alibaba Group can play in bringing Canada to the Asia Pacific market. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma discussed global outlooks and ways to keep up with and adapt to China’s rapidly rising consumer spending power.

Alibaba Group is the world’s biggest eCommerce company that not only provides C2C, B2C & B2B sales services via web portals, but also electronic payment services, big data platforms and data-centric cloud computing services.

There are over 500 million customers who shop on the Alibaba platform and consumer spending is increasingly by 10% a year. I was very excited to learn more about the Chinese market trend, a country with emerging middle and upper classes, with such high spending power.

Chinese consumer insights and preferences were shared by Alibaba Group’s Global Strategy & Operations Managing Director Amee Chande. One of the more thought-provoking points she raised was that Chinese consumers do not simply want a newly designed package with Chinese translations on the products they purchase. Products with original English labels and content show originality. Products made in Canada are perceived as high quality, luxurious and safe to Chinese consumers. Consuming identical products to what Canadian consumers are using enhances the products’ authenticity. Ms. Chande suggested that keeping original labels on and focusing on the originality of your product helps the brand differentiate itself amongst thousands of Chinese and American brands.

Lululemon, Aviva, Aldo and many other Canadian brands have been growing tremendously in the Chinese market. Believe it or not, people went crazy over our famous bottled Rocky Mountain Air!

Alibaba also integrated its Alipay system with Buy+, which is a virtual reality shopping experience that allows consumers to shop at home using a VR headset. I am confident that in no time, Buy+ will allow customers in China to shop in Canadian stores, purchasing original Canadian products anytime and anywhere.

It was very exciting to hear about all of the opportunities Prime Minister Trudeau and Mr. Ma have opened for all businesses in Canada, big and small. It is time to grow our position in this incredible market – and with our bilingual research models, Research Strategy Group is readily positioned to help! Contact us for more information.