As the largest e-commerce economy in the world, China is seeing a new wave of boom in national and cross-border online shopping in recent years, thanks to a higher standard of living in China, a greater exposure to, and knowledge of, foreign products and of course, convenience of online retail.
Predicted jointly by Alibaba and Accenture, China will become the world’s largest market for buying and selling products online by 2020, with the total value of commodity sold by e-retailers to overseas consumers likely to reach a whopping US$994 billion. Under the One Belt One Road initiative, companies will be encouraged by various preferential treatment and considerable fundings in developing foreign trade with cross-border e-commerce.
“Therefore, I think I could set up a virtual incubator to recruit university students worldwide to set up individual companies together to participate in this fast-growing industry.”
Under this background, overseas returnee Vivian Chen is quite confident about her newly-launched e-commerce incubator business in Songshan Lake, Dongguan. We talked to her during the Augmented World Expo. Her office is located right above the venue.
An E-Commence Incubator
Graduated from University of Victoria, Vivian spent eight years in studying and working in Canada before returning to China in 2009. She had been working in international companies and marketing projects, and gained PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers.
In China, she founded several companies including a business consulting company and a new material company. However, the e-commerce incubator called Creative Campus has attracted our attention.
The idea of the incubator is to attract fresh and young university students, train them to be e-commerce specialists. When they are ready, they can establish their own trading companies with the help of Creative Campus and conduct real international transactions.
What the students appreciate the most from the program is the free consulting services and valuable resources the company is going to provide.
“I realized that running a successful e-commerce business requires a lot of resources and training/skills, but most university students or young people lack them,” said Vivian. “Therefore, I think I could set up a virtual incubator to recruit university students worldwide to set up individual companies together to participate in this fast-growing industry.”
The Birth of E-Commence Talents
She personally hand-picked each candidate. There’s no reason to include someone without the passion in e-commence into the program. The potential qualities of candidates could be open-mindedness, certain knowledge in trading and business and most importantly, the strong will to start a business.
At the beginning of July, the program kicked off and 15 students from local universities settled down in the office to learn what it needs to be an online dealer. Real operation in major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay, entrepreneur mindset, teamwork, industry and commerce laws and regulations, as well as basic English are the core lessons of the training.
What the students appreciate the most from the program is the free consulting services and valuable resources the company is going to provide. They will get to know government policies, market analysis, tax and accounting, sales instruction and marketing strategies. They will also get resources of consumer goods supply chains, national and international logistics and warehouses, overseas after-sales services and so on.
The students who establish their own companies only need to invest 100 RMB starting fund to buy their first batch of products. It’s almost risk-free. Yet not every participant of the program will reach this step. In September, three companies will be established. No matter what, they learn a lot.
“Cross-border e-commerce is growing at a speed of 30% per year in China,” commented Vivian. “This fast-growing industry requires a lot of well-educated and global talents to participate and contribute to making this industry more diverse and better. This kind of talent is only in place less than 5% currently. There is a lot of room for growth in the future.”
We thought this is a non-profit government-funded project. Surprisingly, Vivian confessed that she’s investing it from her own pocket. She believes that this is a win-win approach and she’s also planning to expand the program to Shanghai.