5 December 2018 – The second Asian E-tailing Summit took place today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the one-day event offered a one-stop platform for business professionals and online retail experts to discuss success cases and business solutions, explore opportunities in Mainland China and across Asia, and build useful business connections.
The summit ran concurrently with the first day of the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo, which continues on 6-7 Dec. A joint opening ceremony for the two events was held this morning and was officiated by Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Welcoming participants at this morning’s opening ceremony, HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said: “We launched the SmartBiz Expo and Asian E-tailing Summit last year with the intention of equipping businesses – SMEs in particular – with the knowledge, insights, inspiration and connections needed to thrive in the digital era.” Ms Fong explained that this year’s Asian E-tailing Summit featured leaders from e-tailing giants, online marketplaces and think tanks to explore what the future holds, “from advances in the online retailing ecosystem to the opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative”.
According to Euromonitor International, the value of global internet retailing exceeded US$1.4 trillion in 2017. Mainland China was the biggest market, accounting for a third of the global total at US$490 billion, followed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and India. Online retail sales in six key ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries − Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines − exceeded US$9.5 billion, making up just 0.7% of the global total. The industry expects growth in online sales in the mainland and the six ASEAN countries to continue at more than 20% annually.
Plenary Session 1 − Exploring Online Retailing Platform Developments
Two plenary sessions were held this morning. The first, “Advances in Online Retailing Ecosystem: Everything, Everywhere, All the Time”, revealed how the vibrant e-tailing ecosystem fuels business growth and brand-building, helping the industry to take the initiative. Speakers included Clay Liao, Mobile Technical Solutions Consultant, Google; Jenny Cheung, Head of Corporate Marketing, Microsoft Hong Kong; Cassandra Girard, Global Vice President and Head of Consumer and Travel Industries, SAP Customer Experience; Josephine Chow, co-founder and Head of Expansion, ShopBack; and Sherry Zehr, Fashion and Toys Regional Lead, Regional Brand Partnerships, Shopee. The session was chaired by Yew Hong Koh, Managing Director – Retail Lead for Greater China, Accenture.
Plenary Session 2 – How the Belt and Road Drives Cross-border E-commerce
The second plenary session, “The Belt and Road Initiative: New Digital Horizons”, discussed how this landmark infrastructure initiative that is driving economic ties and growth in Asia and beyond can help to foster the cross-border development of e-commerce. Speakers included Wootinun Sungong, CEO and founder, CloudCommerce; Kevin So, CEO, E-GoGo Limited; and Rishabh Shukla, Vice President, Business Development, iPrice Group. The session was chaired by Andrew Lee, Senior Director, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young.
Two concurrent breakout sessions were held in the afternoon, namely “Technology: Machine Manpower” and “Big Data: Know Your Customer”. The former explored how artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping to create e-tailing innovation, with speakers including Omer Artun, CEO and founder, AgilOne, Inc; Jaelyn Kwan, Partner, PwC Experience Centre; Emad Suhail Rahim, co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Robomart, Inc; and Lin Fon Chen, CEO, Robotelf Technologies. The session was chaired by Loo Wee Teck, Global Head of Consumer Electronics Research, Euromonitor International.
The big data breakout session analysed how data stimulates social commerce and improves customer engagement and loyalty, with speakers including Wang-Tun Chou, Senior Vice President, International Business Development, 91APP Inc; Frankie Ho, General Manager, Baidu International; Patrick Steinbrenner, APAC Partner and Managing Director, Insider; Cris Tran, Director, QRC Group; and Cassandra Girard, Global Vice President and Head of Consumer and Travel Industries, SAP Customer Experience. Chairing the session was Anson Bailey, Head of Technology, Hong Kong, Head of Consumer & Retail, ASPAC, KPMG.
Workshops, Networking and the First “Asia’s Best E-tailing Awards”
Three concurrent workshop sessions were held during the summit, covering topics such as mobile checkout systems and payment security, omni-channel retailing, and e-tailing best practices. Networking receptions were organised to help visitors and companies explore potential partnerships. Representatives from e-commerce associations from Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, along with representatives from Hong Kong Electronic Commerce Association and famous Asia-Pacific e-tailers ZALORA and YOOX, held an inaugural roundtable conference to discuss the prospects of e-tailing in Asia. The results of the first “Asia’ s Best E-tailing Awards”, with HKTDC as a strategic partner, were also announced today.
Other Technology-focused Events Create Synergy
The HKTDC is holding a total five events at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this week − today’s e Asian E-tailing Summit, the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo (5-7 Dec), HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show (5-7 Dec), Business of IP Asia Forum (6-7 Dec) and DesignInspire (6-8 Dec). These events focus on new technology and cover various stages of the supply chain, including research and development, design, production, sales and marketing. They aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises enhance their competitiveness and cost-effectiveness and develop new business areas and markets to adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape.