Mobile is king in China, and its model to take online to offline, and offline to online (the O2O model) is now ready to go to the next five billions customers in SouthEast Asia, Eastern Europe and Central and South America, tells China Accelerator managing director William Bao Bean in ChinaInnnovation.
How do you view the innovation opportunities in China’s O2O space?
The physical retail environment in China does not have the coverage of western markets and so online is playing a much greater role in retail in China compared to the west. In China, O2O is not just a shiny new trend but an established mainstream model, and this has laid the groundwork for the development of innovative products and services. As the largest “mobile first” or “mobile only” market in the world, the innovations coming out of China are likely to become the standard for how online and offline commerce develops in other emerging markets. I’m investing in taking innovation coming out of China and delivering it to “the next five billion” consumers in SouthEast Asia, Eastern Europe and Central and South America.
Where are your investments or China accelerator initiatives focused?
We have been very active in O2O investment. For example Giftpass.cn enables users to send a virtual product like a beer to a friend over WeChat that can then be redeemed for the actual product in a restaurant or store. A simple but powerful way to drive mobile sales and offline consumption.
What’s the biggest challenge you see coming from brands/ marketers/agency partners in adopting innovation?
Innovation is all the rage now in Asia marketing circles because brands, agencies and most importantly the consumers are tired of the same old campaigns. Unfortunately, frankly speaking, most brands and agencies are not equipped to embrace innovation because they cannot accept the failure that, by its very nature, accompanies innovation.
To solve the problem we have developed the Chinaccelerator Innovation Day program: half-day events that bring startups together with the entire marketing department of a brand and their agency account team to create and launch specific solutions to brand needs.
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