SAVE THE DATE
Silicon Dragon Circle
Meet VC members Wei Zhou,
China Creation Ventures
James Mi, Lightspeed China
Melissa Guzy, Arbor Ventures
Jonathan Qiu, Fosun
More new members featured in our next issue!
Martin Suter, E-commerce VP, A-B with his China team at 11.11 in Shanghai
China is now A-B's largest beer market
The 11.11 shopping festival has become a showcase for international brands to reach the Chinese consumer with promotions and discounts specially geared to them. More than 180,000 brands got in on the action this year, including Apple, Gap, Nike, Mattel and Anheuser-Busch.
Alibaba's Tmall marketplace for brands to tap into the Chinese market, the festival is an opportunity for marketers to test and launch new products specifically for the Chinese market. Some of these products seem quite odd to western tastes. For instance,
Mars introduced a spicy-flavored Snickers bar,
Milikana brought out a sweet-tasting cheese lollipop and
Johnson & Johnson launched Listerine in a rosemary blossom flavor.
Anheuser-Busch launched a chocolate and orange-tweaked craft beer. Using Alibaba and its delivery service Ele.me, A-B is selling beer online and getting it delivered cold in China. Beer was late to e-commerce because it's bulky, heavy and inexpensive but now A-B is seeing that 26 percent of its first-time beer consumers in China made their purchase online. China has become its largest market worldwide.
Alibaba scored at 11.11 with a 27% increase in merchandise sold on the site to $30.8 billion, a slighter gain than last year's 40% jump. It's still early days for the e-commerce market in China.
Starbucks and Alibaba Friendship
||Starbucks flagship roastery in Shanghai
Thanks to a friendship between
Howard Schultz and
Jack Ma and a thirst for increased business,
Starbucks is becoming a poster brand for the New Retail or digitalized retail in China.
The new retail is about bringing technology into the stores -- artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robots, QR codes, mobile payments, mobile apps with more content that you need to know about everything in the stores, and speedy deliveries.
Starbucks are far from the only players angling for space in this new arena of retailing. Giant e-commerce and logistics company JD.com also has a flagship where it shows off its tech prowess, namely the
QM furniture store in Beijing.
New retail is front and center right now thanks to the 11.11 e-commerce shopping holiday. Both Alibaba and
JD.com have gotten into digitalized supermarkets - Alibaba with
7Fresh. The Hema stores bring the fulfillment center into the store, using conveyor belts that whisk orders to customers.
I've seen this at work in Beijing and Shanghai.
Proving the potential of this market, social commerce startup
Meesho raises $50 million, Series C funding from Lei Jun's
Shunwei Capital and
Cherubic Ventures raises new fund of $88 million for U.S. and Greater China early stage deals. Yi Wang, founder of one of its star portfolio companies Liulishuo,is speaking at Silicon Dragon VC & Awards, Nov. 15, in Hong Kong.
Moderna files for an IPO of up to $500 million. If successful, it will be the largest biotech IPO ever.
Sequoia Capital China is one of the investors.
Tencent-backed fashion and lifestyle e-commerce platform
Mogu has filed for a $200 million IPO on NYSE. Capital will go toward expanding content, beefing up technology, and shoring up financials.
Food is delivered on conveyor belts carting trays powered by robots at
supermarkets featuring the New Retail.
I visited one of the 100
stores Alibaba has in China. I also stopped by a
store in Beijing, where QR codes link to ingredients info about the food you're buying and even where it was grown and distributed. The wonders of technology!