Despite boasting e-commerce juggernauts Alibaba and JD, e-commerce in China is just getting started.
At present, the e-commerce focus is on Tier-I cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen; and some select Tier-II cities like Chengdu, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, or Nanjing.
As is always the case with a market driven by e-commerce, the long tail is where the potential is. This week the New Yorker had a deep dive on JD’s efforts to grow out beyond its existing markets in China, and brings up this startling fact:
Analysts predict that China’s online retail market will double in size in the next two years and that the growth will come disproportionately from third- and fourth-tier cities and from the country’s vast rural hinterland.
Accessing the long tail of Chinese consumers has always been tricky, even with focused and sophisticated campaigns like Chile Week, which focused on top cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Wuhan.
That access should become a little easier with the Chinese government’s efforts to grow cross-border e-commerce. Expanding on the baker’s dozen set up in 2015, the government of China has now announced another 22 cities that will host cross-border e-commerce pilot zones:
Beijing, Hohhot, Shenyang, Changchun, Harbin, Nanjing, Nanchang, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanning, Haikou, Guiyang, Kunming, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Xiamen, Tangshan, Wuxi, Weihai, Zhuhai, Dongguan and Yiwu.
These zones will "boost cross-border e-commerce, promote opening-up and upgrade foreign trade” with China, and allow exporters from Latin America and their local partners to move beyond the top half a dozen cities as they target the next cohort of clients.
Right now the China-Latin America e-commerce relationship is still very much a one-way street. With the exception of some high profile visits, some minor investments, and a few MOUs, Latin America isn't really on China's e-commerce radar. Latin America is hardly on the radar of China's tech companies, a point exemplified by the news that Chinese internet giant Baidu will close its Brazil office by September after 6 years in country.
The opportunity for Latin American exporters in the world's largest consumer market is there. They're just going to be waiting a long time to access it if they're waiting for China to make the first move.
Chilean fruit makes online debut in India— Fruit Net
But while we talk about Chinese e-commerce, don’t forget about India. E-commerce platform BigBasket
will be selling Chilean kiwi, a first in India.
Jornal do Brasil asks the question that many do about the headlines around investment. They note that over the past 15 years, China has invested $54b in Brazil, but that only 11% of that is in new or greenfield projects.
Relación China-Mexico, de rivalidad a camaderia— 20 Minutos
Liu Xue Dong, Economics professor at the UNAM location in Beijing, argues that China and Mexico have gone from being competitors to comrades over the past twenty years.
While the news on Argentine exports has been about China, don’t sleep on Japan and South Korea, says grower and consultant Victor Tonelli:
“The crown jewels remain Argentina and Korea. Japan has opened the possibility of exporting beef and mutton from Patagonia. Representatives from Japan have said that if Argentina does the needed wit in Patagonia, it’s very close to entering the Asian market. In South Korea, negotiations have also started."
巴拿马与中国展开自贸谈判，欲成为区域产品与投资入口— 参考消息 (Cankaociaoxi)
Enfoques estratégicos de negociación con China— La estrella de Panamá
Panama and China have finished round one of the negotiations of their FTA, and so far both sides seem satisfied. Separately, Li Qiang, Communist Party of China Secretary of Shanghai and member of the CPC Politburo, met with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela.
如果贸易战继续，铜价将持续下跌— SAO News
Guerra comercial se sintió en América Latina— El Colombiano
Guerra comercial EUA-China ameaça Brasil, segundo Aloysio Nunes— Estado de Minas
Latin America and the trade war— Latin Trade
Further news from the trade war, which continues to cause challenges for Latin America. The good news is that Chinese demand for soy is expected to look to Argentine and Brazilian supply. The bad news is that, thanks to trade headwinds, the International Monetary Fund has lowered expectations for Latin American economic growth this year to 1.6%.
China — LAC
The Pacific Alliance held its Fifth Tourism Conference this past week, and attracting Chinese tourists was a key part of the discussion.
Following last year’s dela between China and Chile, Peru and China are also considering a revised Free Trade Agreement - an FTA 2.0. Peru wants to improve opportunities for SMEs, customs, trade in services, and e-commerce.
China y RD, los retos de una relación (y 3)— Listin Diario
Nuevas oportunidades en las relaciones diplomáticas de China y República Dominicana— Hoy Digital Op-eds saying there’s plenty of opportunity for the Dominican Republic in its new relations with China.
64% of Chinese consumers want to try Argentine beef, according to a survey by Asian Agribusiness Consulting. But Argentina still has a ways to go on making its beef as well known in China as it is around the world.
智利梨子即将登陆中国市场— SAO News
Asia is the future for Chilean agriculture— Fresh Plaza
Ministro Walker: “Uno de nuestros objetivos es conquistar el mercado chino”— Radio Agricultura
Chilean Agricultural Minister Antonio Walker meet with Ambassador to China Luis Schmidt, and reconfirms that one of the country’s agriculture goals “is to conquer the Chinese market."
Lanzamientos Dongfeng: dos SUV y un sedán para Chile— Revista Capital
China’s Dongfeng is expanding in the Chilean auto market with two SUVs and a sedan.
An effort to put China’s continues loans to Venezuela in context. China is now focusing almost exclusively on joint ventures by Chinese firms with PDVSA, and looking to keep control of a larger share of Venezuela’s oil production under the current government and in the future.
Chinese Investment in Latin America— Latin American Intersections
Jorge Heine continues explaining the China-Latin America relationship.
China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank are looking to collaborate with foreign development banks and agencies.
China is enjoying the fruits of greater trade with Latin America, with avocado prices lower than ever.
Former Mexican Foreign Minister Bernardo Sepúlveda says that present-elect AMLO needs to recognize that the US is isolating it’s allies, and that Mexico needs to seek new alliances, especially with China.
Grupo chinês compra empresa mineira e pretende transformá-la em— Estado de Minas
Having held 51% of the company since 2015, Sanxing Electric Co has bought the rest of Minas Gerais’ Nansen, a company that makes electricity measurement instruments.
Frango tenta se reerguer na China e com o BNDES— Estado de Minas
The Brazilian Poultry Association has turned to state development bank BNDES for a R1$1.5b ($390m) line of credit to offset the impact of China’s anti-dumping tariffs.
Korea — LAC
Colombian Ambassador to South Korea Juan Pablo Rodriguez visited Dongsuh Foods Co., which buys 12,000 tons of Juan Valdez’ finest every year.
South Korea’s transportation ministry MOLIT is supporting $12.5m in strategic work by the city of Medellín to look into intelligent mobility solutions.
Japan — LAC
Japanese and European companies continue to invest in the Mexican automotive complex, with an additional $3-4b expected this year.
Argentina continuará exportando limones a Japón— Revista Chacra
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries sent a research team to Tucumán to make sure Argentine exports of lemons to Japan are up to snuff. They are.
Conheça detalhes da gigante japonesa do aço— Estado de Minas
A local profile of Kimitsu, subsidiary of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC), which owns Usiminas and Vallourec Soluções Tubulares in Minas Gerais.
India — LAC
Mahindra digs farm machine demand in Americas and Japan— Nikkei Asian Review
Farm equipment maker Mahindra & Mahindra is looking to make over 50% of its revenue overseas, including from its largest market the Americas, where it generates $600m in revenue.
ASEAN & Oceania — LAC
We didn’t see anything this week — what did we miss?
GCC — LAC
UAE joins Pacific Alliance as observer— Gulf News
The hottest club in Latin America has a new member - the United Arab Arab Emirates has joined the Pacific Alliance as an observing member.