Successful visit of a food & beverage e-commerce delegation to Shanghai & Hangzhou

From May 15 -18 the Dutch embassy organised a four day mission to Shanghai and Hangzhou in order to help Dutch companies to explore the business opportunities. In total 16 companies participated in this mission, which was led by the agricultural counsellors Martin Olde Monnikhof and Nynke Runia. Please find below a detailed report.

China’s e-commerce is developing at a rapid pace and China is currently the biggest e-commerce market in the world. Some stimuli include the expansion of online retail categories like fast-moving consumer goods, increased investments in the lower-tier cities and rural areas and the continuously growing purchasing power of the middle class. These factors, facilitated by upgraded logistics infrastructure and technological advancements, show that the expansion of Chinese e-commerce is most likely to continue in the coming years.

Simultaneously, China is one of the fastest growing food & beverage market in Asia. Increased interest and demand for foreign food & beverage products is being driven by China’s e-commerce development and the rising disposable income. E-commerce has given China’s consumers access to more diverse and quality products from overseas, and a notable share of consumers appear to be taking advantage.

The Dutch export of food & beverage products to China has been growing steadily in the past years. Aside from the diverse food & beverage the Netherlands has to offer, another important driver of the increased export is the high standard that we maintain on quality and food-safety. That is why the Dutch embassy organized a four day mission from May 15 up to May 18 to Shanghai and Hangzhou to help Dutch companies to explore the business opportunities. In total 16 companies participated in this mission, which was led by the agricultural counsellors Martin Olde Monnikhof and Nynke Runia. The mission consisted of a seminar, matchmaking, networking receptions and field visits. In summary, we noted that both the Dutch as Chinese counterparts indicated that the mission has contributed positively in their expansion plans in the Chinese market. The Dutch companies met many potential business partners who can help them to increase their business. The Chinese companies met different suppliers of Dutch food & beverage products.

Day 1

The first day was kicked off with a seminar on the e-commerce environment in China. Dutch companies became acquainted with the opportunities and challenges of e-commerce in China. Our key partners & subject matter experts spoke about topics such as fundamental differences between online & offline commerce, consumer behavior, intellectual property and etc.

Later in the afternoon the Dutch companies were formally introduced to potential business partners in the food & beverage industries. Many ideas and business cards were exchanged. Over more than 30 Chinese companies participated in the matchmaking.

The first day was closed with a networking reception for the Dutch and Chinese companies. We invited additional key partners, who might be able to help the Dutch companies to succeed, to attend the networking reception.

Day 2

The second day of the mission consisted of 3 field visits so that the mission participants could get a better understanding of how existing businesses are operating in China with regard to food & beverage and e-commerce.

The first visit was to Shanghai Waigaoqiao direct imported foods Co. Ltd. where the Dutch companies where received by the purchasing department and the general affairs. They were given a tour in their imported food supermarket.

Next, the participants brought a visit to Hema Fresh, which is a leading omni-channel fresh & grocery supermarket. They transformed the traditional supermarket concept to an omni-channel shopping and life-style center, where they applied the modern technology and smart solutions.

Finally the companies paid a visit to Yihaodian. Being one of the first online supermarkets, they showed the Dutch companies how they changed over time in their operations and products.

Day 3

Because the mission was taking place at the same time as the biggest food & beverage exhibition in Asia, it was inevitable not to visit to the SIAL on the third day. Here we were received by the director of SIAL who is responsible for European companies. During the SIAL the companies explored what other kinds of foreign and local products there are in the Chinese market. Furthermore the mission participants visited the several Holland pavilions that were established.

There was a networking reception later in the evening to bring together the companies of the Holland pavilions and the mission participants. Moreover we invited our Chinese partners to meet the Dutch companies.

Day 4

During the final day, the companies travelled to Hangzhou to meet the e-commerce platform Kaola. The delegation was received by the business development director who gave a presentation on Kaola’s history, development and experience with international suppliers.

Afterwards the companies were invited to China’s first cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot area in Hangzhou. The companies were given a tour within the area and received a presentation on what the possibilities there are in the experimental area for companies involved in cross-border e-commerce.