They are big, they are digital, they are growing fast. They know their customers and they dominate the market – in China. Now these key players in the Far East are ready to take on other markets, and in so doing they are learning one thing in particular: The world functions differently from one place to another. And like every other company they also have to do more than simply translate their websites into other languages.
“We have to understand our customers, not only in China, and adapt our offers to their particular requirements”, says Lynn Qu, Chief Product Officer Trip.com/Ctrip. This extends from presenting products and designing user interfaces in line with particular target groups to a diversified personnel strategy in order to set up local customer services that reflect a particular culture. “We are well informed about our home markets, but we have to familiarize ourselves with all the others.”
“The decisive factor is that we provide all our partners and customers with genuine added value”, according to Angel Zhao,President Alibaba Travel (Fliggy). For them a technological infrastructure and big data universe, unique full-service experiences and cashless payment systems around the world are being created, in particular through links to the Alibaba eco-system, i.e. the customer basis and offer.
Many are focussing on the leisure market. “With 11% of the gross domestic product, leisure tourism is one of the largest markets in China”, explains Jim Qian, Chairman and CEO Fosun Tourism Group. “It currently accounts for almost 60 per cent of the Chinese travel market, and we can expect even more.” Individual travel is becoming more important for the Chinese, and it is becoming increasingly possible to also take vacations outside the two main travel weeks (Golden October, Chinese New Year). Those whose jobs allow them the necessary mobility can also organize their travel and work accordingly, sightseeing during the day and working at night. Under the Foliday brand his company can provide one-stop holiday experiences using a resort and cross-market strategy: environments which include not only vacations but everything from children’s toys to women’s footwear from a one-stop-shop.
In brief: the current key word is globalization.
China’s companies are looking overseas. They are making acquisitions, and they are rigorously combining the data from all the companies in the group. Nowadays they realize that intercultural understanding and improved communications are essential in order to open doors to China and other markets. And they sense that ensuring stable, organic growth could also present them with a particular challenge.
Author: Isabel Bommer