Today Marketingtochina Team has the pleasure to interview Ashley, founder of Chozan and Alarice about her New Book A Guide To Selling on Chinese Social Media
1 Please introduce yourself
I’m an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and vlogger. Since early last year, I’ve run a vlog on www.ashleytalks.com and YouTube (@AshleyTalksChina), which is now the largest vlog in the world about the China market, Chinese consumers and Chinese social media. I’m also the founder of Alarice and ChoZan – firms that specialize in marketing in China and on Chinese social media in particular.
In other words, I work with and speak to entrepreneurs, companies and business leaders around the world, showing them how to make the most of Chinese social media for their businesses.
I’m also a member of the Alibaba Global Influencer Group, and recently I started my own show about China on OneTV in Hong Kong. I’ve been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Huffington Post, SCMP, and others. I’m also a frequent speaker at the China Marketing Summit, WeChat Conference, HKTDC, HKSTP, InvestHK, The Women’s Foundation, TEDx, and others.
2 So you’ve written a book. Can you tell us what your book is about?
“Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market: A Guide to Selling on Chinese Social Media” is a must-have for anyone who’s working with Chinese social media or planning to enter the world’s largest e-commerce economy. With revenues of 7.57 trillion yuan (US$1.17 trillion) in 2017, there’s an increasing demand to learn about digital strategies and tactics specifically for the China market. It’s packed with the latest information, actionable insights and practical strategies for marketers.
You’ll learn about Chinese consumers, their preferences and habits and the nature of the market as a whole. There are guides on the most influential consumers and emerging consumer groups. You’ll get a better understanding of their development and how social media have become an ever-present element of life in China. There are tips on how to make the most of WeChat and Weibo in your marketing strategy. The outlook for digital trends, artificial intelligence and what kind of changes ‘New Retail’ will bring are also detailed.
Whether you want to enter the market for the first time, expand your presence in China or provide services to Chinese tourists abroad, “Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market” offers practical advice about selling on Chinese social media from someone who has seen the transformation in China’s online world firsthand.
3 Who should read your book?
“Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market: A Guide to Selling on Chinese Social Media” is for people currently working in China’s retail market. They are typically foreign managers, marketing heads, or business owners who just tapped into China. They may have online shops and/or brick-and-mortar stores in mainland China with local staff. They may have a basic understanding of the Chinese e-commerce ecosystem. They should check out this book if they want to understand how to best use social media and different sales channels.
“Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market” also caters to the need of business owners selling to China through cross-border e-commerce. They have not officially entered China and don’t have an intermediary business entity in China. As they don’t have any physical presence in China, they are eager to learn more about digital marketing and how to make the most of Chinese social media. So this book is exactly what they desire.
The book is also helpful for companies that are located outside of China but provide services to Chinese consumers. Their goal is to attract Chinese visitors to enjoy and pay for their services when they travel abroad. They are usually brands in the hospitality industry, such as restaurants and hotels, retail stores, or schools that want to enroll international students. Distance makes it hard for Chinese consumers to get to know them so they want actionable tips on how to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by Chinese outbound visitors in the digital age.
The general public should also read “Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market” if they are interested in knowing the latest trends in China’s digital economy and where the world is going in the near future.
4 Why did you write this book?
With a population of over 1.3 billion, China still tops the board with the world’s largest population. It also has the world’s largest e-commerce economy, which reached 7.57 trillion RMB (1.18 trillion USD) in 2017. According to eMarketer, China will account for 60% of retail e-commerce sales in the world by 2021.
It’s a huge market full of potential but it’s not straightforward. Before stepping into this unique market, there are many things brands must know in advance. Yet many marketers and small business owners from other countries only have a narrow understanding of Chinese consumers and the online channels to reach them. There’s an increasing demand for dedicated strategies and tactics for the China market but current books about China’s digital marketing often lack practical solutions.
Seeing a gap in the market, I decided to consolidate my twelve years of professional experience in digital marketing in China into an easy-to-read business book, hoping to offer market insights and actionable tips to interested industry insiders around the world.
5 In your view, what are the 3 biggest reasons we should read your book?
“Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market: A Guide to Selling on Chinese Social Media” is a comprehensive guidebook for business people who are interested in China and Chinese consumers. You will understand the latest digital trends, consumer behaviors and how the market has evolved and where it’s going.
Moreover, you will get the hands-on guide to WeChat and Weibo, the hottest social media in China. Not only will you understand all the functional tools offered by the two platforms, but you will also learn the respective marketing models and best approaches to succeed in the vital marketplace.
Last but not least, you will see the outlook for the China market, including the technology revolutions brought by big data and artificial intelligence, the seamless online-to-offline shopping experience powered by New Retail, as well as how China is influencing the rest of the world.
6 What’s your favorite topic/ chapter in the book?
I love Chapter 1 as it states clearly why it’s crucial for everyone to understand the China market and recognize its immense potentials. I feel that I have a mission to share my professional experiences in China and educate others about all the exciting happenings there because China has been stereotyped for years as a less developed region that lags far behind the western countries.
I also like the last chapter because it gives readers a glimpse into the future of China – where synergy is created among offline retail, e-commerce, social media, live streaming and mobile payment. Advanced technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data are going to play significant roles in shaping the new digital era. I am excited to see how tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent are going to revolutionize the whole digital economy in China and even the world.
7 Why did you choose this title?
China has become the world’s largest e-market and we believe there are immense business opportunities yet to be unlocked. We also did a couple of surveys online, asking industry insiders and international readers to pick their favorite title and most of them preferred “Unlocking the World’s Largest E-market” so, we were happy to take their advice.