This post is also available in: Italian

It has been my Second week discovering Chinese consumers and selling dynamics in China thanks to the Alibaba Netpreneur Business Class. A  journey that is every week more exciting, and I have the feeling of filling the gap about the knowledge of China and our future. I have connected China to our future because no doubt that this will be the century of Asia and China.

Leaving geopolitics and going back to Italian products and Chinese consumers, everybody who has tried to export in China knows the nightmare of customs and the many decisions and choices that this “organism” has to make regarding warehouses, distribution, relationship with clients, marketing, etc. And over all, the mysterious Chinese language.

But nowadays, in many countries laws are taking care of very small businesses with cross-borders regulation for B2C selling. Therefore, selling platforms are now trying to find their way to new world producers worldwide to enlarge the variety of their proposal and become global players.

Alibaba is the largest platform and the best organized to support those who are not confident with China and need constant assistance.

Their attention to supporting clients making their selling and buying experience easy and fun helped them to become the most efficient player. Somehow, I think that the Alibaba business journey is the essence of Chinese spirit described in The Art of War by Sun Tzu, 5 centuries before Christ.

‘Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems’ and ‘The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought’.

The creation of the platform and of its businesses’ galaxy is the natural consequence of this attitude. But the world is always evolving so nothing is never in a static situation and always needs to evolve to find new opportunities.

Competitors who started their business later can learn from pioneers’ mistakes and have a shorter learning curve. So even if Alibaba has reached a better position it always has to create new opportunities to avoid the natural decline curve.

And here we are, 200 entrepreneurs from Italy and Spain to think about a common future. And it is not an easy task, because I think finance is at a crossroad and future scenarios will show us which direction governments and multinationals will take.

The change that will occur will not just be an adjustment of the present and this will create even more opportunities for platforms who are ready to change.


What connects Naples and China?

I had just an idea of Chinese consumers and this reinforced my idea that Chinese spirit is close to Naples’ engineering spirit. I will try to explain this sentence.

To explain this connection, I have to enter deeply into engineering and Confucius’s philosophy, so follow me in these crazy thoughts.

I am an engineer and I loved maths but these 2 disciplines are creative in a different way. Maths is more connected with thoughts and engineering with action. Maths is a philosophical way of thinking to the essence of reality and engineering is the analysis of reality and the creation of synapses and practical solutions.

So, it is not an accident if today the best maths schools are in India (always keener on thoughts and philosophy) and if the best engineering schools are in China. We should remember that last week China arrived on Mars and no doubt that the digital industries’ centre is moving from the Silicon Valley to China.

But going back to China’s history, their technology was as developed as ours – and sometimes was ahead – even if they didn’t have our math codification.

So, we can say that Chinese attitude is to solve problems and to be creative. And this is an engineer’s attitude.

But now let’s talk about their social behaviour. Before Covid 19, the first image of Chinese people was in a crowd. It seems to be chaotic but then we could feel that there was an order underlying the chaos. And this order can be reconnected with Confucius’s social hierarchy.

The Five Bonds are: ruler to rule, father to son, husband to wife, elder brother to younger brother, friend to friend. Specific duties were prescribed to each of the participants in these sets of relationships.

We can summarize this order into State, Parents, Family, Friends. Apart from the state, this is Naples’s social hierarchy. Listening to a traditional Neapolitan song and reading its words can explain this in a more poetic way.

I had to simplify but I had this feeling many times in China and in Italy.

Curiously, when I approached the lesson on livestreaming, my mind went immediately back to Naples.

I think that social ecommerce has the same dynamic of the real traditional Mediterranean Market. It is their natural digital evolution. Have you ever been to Forcelle in Naples or to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul?

I don’t understand Chinese but from their non-verbal communication and from the graphic the sellers and the KOLs behave more like our ‘urlatori’ (shouter). Therefore, in the case of KOLs, I think the driving selling force is the game more their story-telling capability.

It is the idea of be the one who has been able to buy in the first seconds more than the real interest into the product. It is different the case of livestreaming from rural area where the selling driving force is the social-storytelling, the infotainment.

If Alibaba has created this group of Netpreneur to have ideas, I would explore even more the power of gaming. And maybe we should do a live experience in Naples (but we can choose Palermo’s markets to like Vucciria or Ballarò).

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses