On the Couch: Heroes and War Stories
Pat English (Moderator), Executive Director, New Zealand China Council
- Dr Xiaoying Fu, Director, Kiwa Digital
- Julian Beavis, CEO, FoodCap International
- Mark Tanner, Managing Director, China Skinny
Dr Xiaoying Fu shared stories about Kiwa Digital’s products, emphasising the importance of timing in entering a market. Kiwa Digital is a pioneering digital production house, and their experiential e-books were launched soon after the original iPad went to market in 2010. By attending the Hong Kong book fair, they secured 1.5 minutes on CNN, which propelled them to become a market leader.
Fu did acknowledge that Kiwa Digital’s innovation might initially have been too early to market, quoting Steve Jobs – “victory in our industry is spelled s-u-r-v-i-v-a-l.” Fu referenced similar companies that started around the same time as Kiwa Digital, but were unable to stick around and make things work, and have subsequently disappeared.
Julian Beavis of FoodCap International agreed with Fu, adding that victory ultimately comes down to survival – especially after being too early to market.
FoodCap’s rigid vacuum vessels allow food companies to transport fresh meat from where it is grown, to where the consumers are. “Freshly chilled meat is aspirational anywhere in the world, and no less so in China”, Beavis told the summit attendees.
China Skinny’s Managing Director, Mark Tanner, named what he considers to be the three most important factors regarding customers:
- Forget assumptions from your homeland
- China is less trusting of products and services. Consumers like to investigate across a range of online channels before making a decision. Trust must be earned.
- 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th tier cities are important – and they offer huge opportunities more easily than China’s largest cities. Consider entering cities like Mudanjiang in Heilongjiang, not just Beijing and Shanghai.
Do you got advice from your own war stories? Perhaps there are things you wouldn’t do again if you had your time over? Let us know in the discussion below.