Tompkins International - Key Takeaways From Alibaba's Gateway '17 eCommerce Conference

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Tompkins International, a gold sponsor at Gateway ’17, presented small businesses with strategies and solutions to build a China eCommerce business.

Jack Ma and Michael Zakkour, VP, Tompkins International

Tompkins is well positioned to help U.S. companies best understand China’s markets and getting their products to these markets efficiently and effectively, through proven cross-border strategies and solutions.

On June 20th and 21st, Alibaba Group held its inaugural Gateway ’17 eCommerce conference in Detroit, Michigan, where more than 3,000 U.S. small businesses, entrepreneurs, and farmers attended the sold-out event to learn about Chinese consumers and the role Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest eCommerce company plays in helping to engage them through eCommerce.

Gateway ’17 was organized by Alibaba, the State of Michigan, the City of Detroit, and dozens of sponsors and supporters in order to help U.S. small businesses, entrepreneurs, and farmers to sell their products to consumers around the world. The event empowered these attendees, through presentations by experts, to take the first steps to selling in China.

Tompkins International was a Gold Sponsor at the event. Michael Zakkour, Tompkins’ VP of China/APAC & Global eCommerce Strategy was one of the designated “Key Opinion Leaders” in relation to China, eCommerce, and retail. He was invited to inform attendees about the importance of China’s 800 million consumers and to describe the market’s future growth and profitability. He described the key role eCcommerce and Alibaba play in reaching those consumers.

Some of the key highlights and takeaways from the two day conference include:

  • China is home to 650 million online consumers, soon to be 900 million online consumers.
  • Alibaba Group is committed to helping businesses of any size easily conduct business anywhere in the world through its suite of eCommerce platforms and services, including Global Tao Bao, and Tmall, and Tmall Global.
  • Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma, in a conversation with Charlie Rose, presented his vision to make it easy for small businesses to sell globally.
  • China’s middle class of 350 million, is larger than the U.S. Population.
  • Gateway ’17 was held in Detroit as a symbol of innovation and renewal. Detroit Mayor Duggan announces that, “Detroit is back.” Microsoft and Amazon are opening headquarters in downtown Detroit, the creative class is flocking to the city and innovation is the city’s future.
  • Martha Stewart spoke about how all entrepreneurs can build their future through smart eCommerce operations.
  • “The Profit” Star, Marcus Lemonis touted the virtues of entrepreneurism and explained how Alibaba is a key partner for small businesses.

Tompkins International, a global leader in China consumer and global eCommerce solutions works closely with Alibaba to enable U.S. companies to realize the benefits of selling to Chinese consumers through eCommerce. Cross-border eCommerce is currently a 300 billion USD business and will increase to a one and a half trillion USD business by 2021. Tompkins is well positioned to help U.S. companies best understand China’s markets and getting their products to these markets efficiently and effectively, through proven cross-border strategies and solutions.

Zakkour, one of the world’s foremost experts on Chinese consumers, Alibaba, and cross-border eCommerce, helped educate attendees on how to sell to Chinese consumers through new retail models, going global, and going digital. Zakkour also enlightened attendees on how to build a strategy for China cross-border sales and the steps that need to be taken to launch. Businesses must focus on consumer needs, product demands, and strategic planning and implementation, in order to be successful.

Zakkour’s book China’s Super Consumers has been a best seller in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. China’s Super Consumers is a hands-on resource for succeeding in the Chinese marketplace, filled with real-world stories of companies who have made an impact in China. Zakkour is also, a contributing writer for FORBES, HBR, CNBC, and Beijing Review. He can often be heard as a guest lecturer at the China Institute, Columbia University, Confucius Institute for Business, New York University, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

Tompkins has been on the ground in China from the very beginnings in the “Opening Up and Reform” movement in the 1980s, through its growth into the most important manufacturing country in the world in the 90s and 2000s. Tompkins has been engaged with China’s emergence as a major consumer of services, technology, and investment economy it is today.

Tompkins Asia consulting practice is built for a Globalization 2.0 world where businesses need to rethink, digitize, internationalize, and redeploy their “make it, move it, and sell it” strategies and operations to address the megatrends affecting their business.

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Andrea Epstein
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