Discovering E-commerce and Logistics Innovation in China - La Poste Executive Board Trip in Shanghai

From March 30 - 31, led by its CEO Ms. Susan Ruoff, the Swiss Post executive board paid a trip to Shanghai to discover the country's blooming e-commerce and logistic landscape. By request from the board, swissnex China organized a two-day intensive program for them to learn about the latest trends and developments in these two fields. At the same time, swissnex worked closely with the Science and Technology Consular in Seoul and Tokyo, expanding this exploration from Shanghai to Northeast Asia.

Lunch meeting with local business leaders, March 30

Right after the delegation landed in Shanghai, the program started with a lunch meeting at the Peace Hotel. Pascal Marmier, CEO of swissnex opened the session with a brief introduction of the organization and its presence in China, following by a short speech of CEO of Swiss Post. Ms. Yuanyuan Wang, the VP of BaoZun, and Philppe Kuai, Co-founder of Imdada, were invited as two keynote speakers for the meeting. Several other Swiss guests were invited to the lunch including Mr. Hoffet, the Consul General. During lunch, small WeChat demos were given by the presented swissnex team to give a better understanding of China’s digital life to the delegation.

Being one of the most successful digital and E-Commerce service partners in China, Baozun Inc. provides end-to-end services to major brands, including website design, development and hosting, IT infrastructure, customer service, warehousing and logistics services, as well as digital marketing. Ms. Wang explained the different business models of Baozun, and how they are leading in this industry, including logistics and commercial aspect.

Being one of the most successful digital and E-Commerce service partners in China, Baozun Inc. provides end-to-end services to major brands, including website design, development and hosting, IT infrastructure, customer service, warehousing and logistics services, as well as digital marketing. Ms. Wang explained the different business models of Baozun, and how they are leading in this industry, including logistics and commercial aspect.

Mr. Kuai then shared how Imdada is operating and how it can achieve such a fast growing scale. The delivery service is present in 140 cities with over 1.3M drivers. The startup raised 500M USD.  The Swiss guests were impressed when Mr. Kuai showed how imdada works by ordering a salad on the platform and had it delivered to the lunch!

Mr. Kuai then shared how Imdada is operating and how it can achieve such a fast growing scale. The delivery service is present in 140 cities with over 1.3M drivers. The startup raised 500M USD.  The Swiss guests were impressed when Mr. Kuai showed how imdada works by ordering a salad on the platform and had it delivered to the lunch!

Company visit to Ctrip and dinner with local entrepreneurs

Ctrip.com International Ltd. (CTRP) was founded in 1999 in Shanghai, China. The company is a leading provider of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management. In 2014, the company’s gross transaction value reached USD24.5 billion and total commission revenue reached USD1.3 billion.

The delegation was warmly welcomed and began the tour in Ctrip Call Center and real-time order monitor center. The meeting with Ctrip VP and head of operations Jane was a success. Jane gave an overview and development of this travel & tourism service company in China. She also shared personal experience and career route as a traditional Chinese studying abroad and back to China for work.  A glimpse on how China and her citizens grow and change rapidly within thirty years.

A networking dinner was organized for the evening. 10 start-up entrepreneurs from diverse tech industries that met the interests of Swiss Post, includes fintech, machine-to-machine, e-commerce, and eco-park were invited to interact with the delegation. 

Company visit to Alibaba, March 31

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a leading Chinese e-commerce company that operates leading online and mobile marketplaces in retail and wholesale trade, as well as cloud computing and other services via web portals. It also provides electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services.

In the beginning of the meeting, Alibaba did an overall presentation of Alibaba group, including the business size and trade volume. This was followed by a specific introduction of Tmall and Cainiao departments, which are directly linked to Swiss Post’s business.

Susanne Ruoff, CEO of Swiss Post, talked about four core markets that Swiss Post is engaged in including communication, financial services, logistics and passenger transport. Swiss Post takes the leading position in all of the four core markets as:

  1. Swiss Post is the only provider in Switzerland to offer a complete portfolio of services covering the entire e-commerce value chain: from the design of online shops to order processing and logistics.
  2. Post Finance is one of Switzerland’s leading financial institutions, and is the market leader in payment transactions, including mobile payment.
  3. Post Bus Switzerland is the market leader in public bus transport in Switzerland, e.g. passengers can sit in unmanned bus to commute.
  4. Swiss Post is one of the most innovative postal companies in the world, testing new ways of delivery, e.g. drones.
Useful background information
Swiss Post handles 115 million parcels and 2.2 billion letters, accounting for 80% of the market share in Switzerland. It partners with other overseas companies to deliver globally, providing B2C solutions for E-Commerce, Cross-Border Mail solution and delivery of documents and shipments, who mainly include Asendia TNT Swiss Post and GLS & Swiss Post Joint Venture. Switzerland is the 5th largest E-Commerce European country in terms of its turnover. In 2015, Swiss E-Commerce market volume grew by 7.5%. Now Swiss Post is transforming its E-Commerce from 2.0 to 3.0, covering all value chain: marketing, ordering, payment, logistics and customer care, and is also developing its strengths in big data, mobile coverage, quick delivery, cross-border e-commerce and personalized parcel management.

Roger Su, from Cainiao Network, talked about Cainiao cross-border logistics solution. Currently, Cainiao works with postal services such as China Post, Singapore Post, Royal Mail and other partners. Now outbound delivery (from China to other countries reaches) B2C 1million a day. Roger expressed wishes to discuss more potential opportunities with Swiss Post and Ascendia on facilitating logistics from China to Europe.

Group pic with Alibaba

Group pic with Alibaba

Jorge Zugasti Itoiz, from AliExpress, talked about the ongoing progress with Swiss Post. Now AliExpress is working with Ascendia UK and building the solution for French market by working Swiss Post as well. The negotiations on details such as price are still underway and things are on the right track. He believed Ascendia UK will be a good gateway of cooperation into other European markets, which are growing very fast.

Kika, from Tmall Global, detailed the Swiss Post about how to open an online store of Swiss Post to facilitate its business expansion in China by citing the Royal Mail as a successful case. More cooperation opportunities are to be discussed after the meeting between the two sides.

After presentations, both parties exchanged their ideas and blueprint. The Swiss delegation particularly expressed that it is amazing that how many inspirations and ideas they could get from this short discussion.