2019 “Eyes on China” Forum

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba held 2019 “Eyes on China” forum with Peking University in Beijing, on Nov.14th, 2019. Speeches and panel discussions focused on digital transformation, and how to leverage digital transformation to empower business.

Jing Jie, vice president of Alibaba, returned to the core concepts of “Consumers, Products, and Place” to illustrate the empowerment of business with digital transformation. As of now, Alibaba has 860 million active users worldwide, penetrating 85% developed markets and 40% developing markets in China. This huge user base has made “’consumer-centric” an essential strategy. Consumers’ preferences further guide on product selection on the platform. Besides branded products, among which 299 brands exceeded CNY100 million Gross Merchandise Value during 2019 double eleven shopping festival, Alibaba’s marketplace scope has further extended to agricultural products and imported commodities. Catering to consumers’ preferences, many brands launched their exclusive customized gift box designed just for double eleven, and some even launched Christmas new arrivals one month ahead of schedule. “Place”, as another core element, has been innovated into different formats, among which “digital community” gets increasingly popular and provides enormous opportunities for business to engage with consumers. According to Xiao Lihua, vice president of Alibaba, livestreaming has largely facilitated the interaction between business and consumers, renovated from the graphic era in the past. During 2019 double eleven shopping festival, livestreaming has swept half of the showbiz in China. Celebrities, KOLs and hundreds of CEOs attended livestream to promote their products, so did county magistrates to promote agricultural products.

Digital transformation has provided enormous opportunities for business, and the case of Nestle China and Yum China have well-demonstrated the growth gained from collaboration with digitalization. The panel discussion later in the evening invited Zhang Yong, chairman of Alibaba, Rashid Qureshi, CEO of Nestle China, and Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. Nestle, as a traditional FMCG company, has adopted the consumer-centric approach, put focus on interaction with consumers, and driven product innovation from consumer insights. KFC, brand under Yum China, has also benefited from digital transformation and the collaboration with Alibaba Local Services, being the first restaurant chain that exceeded CNY100 million GMV during double eleven. As of now, over 90% transactions of KFC are done through mobile payment, and over 60% orders are placed through digital platforms. Panel discussion guests all agreed that digital transformation will benefit more business in China, thanks to its great consumer base and level of digitalization.