Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Australia missing out on Asian e-commerce boom, high ranking bank exec warns

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Photo credit; SEOPlanter on Flickr

Asia, particularly China, is going through an e-commerce boom and Australian businesses are missing out on it, warns Sarv Girn, chief information officer at the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Although internet penetration rates in Asia are low when compared with Australia, they are growing more rapidly than the rest of the world, Girn said.

The projected growth of internet usage in the region could see the number of people on the internet in the region basically double.

According to eMarketer, consumers in the Asia-Pacific will spend more money online than the US for the first time ever this year. And for every ten US dollars spent, six will come from China.

According to official figures from the China Internet Network information Center, China has 618 million internet users as of December 2013. That means China has an online population 33 times that of Australia with only a 45.8 per cent penetration rate. Half of that population shops online.

Yet despite the huge opportunity for Australian businesses to sell directly to China’s rapidly expanding middle class via the web, Aussie businesses are lagging behind the competition from other countries.

“There are a range of popular Australian brands sold on China’s Tmall, but sales volumes are still small,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, a Hong Kong-based investment banker at strategy consultancy Silk Road Associates.

“Making your product available is just a first step. But it’s hard to be noticed without an effective marketing strategy, especially a digital media strategy.”

A number of Australian brands such as Penfolds wine, dairy provider A2 Milk, baby food manufacturer Bellamy’s Organic, and clothing store Jeanswest have their own shopfronts on Alibaba’s B2C website Tmall.

If that seems too daunting for Australian businesses, the process has recently been simplified thanks to a partnership between China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and Australia Post.

Through the agreement, businesses no longer have to overcome onerous obstacles such as registering as a Chinese business entity or employing local staff in the country. Australian businesses now have the option of piggy-backing off Australia Post and shipping their products directly from Australia.

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Surfstitch considers IPO

Monday, December 9th, 2013
Photo credit; Daniel Flower

Photo credit; Daniel Flower

Australian company Surfstitch, which claims to now be the the world’s largest online sports apparel and fashion retailer, is considering going public on the ASX.

The news comes from co-founder Justin Cameron as Surfstitch sits as the market leader in Asia and Australia and is starting to dominate European online fashion retailing.

According to Cameron, who co-founded the business with Lex Pedersen, the business is already the largest online action sports and fashion business in the world.

He pointed out that Surfstitch’s main competitor in the US,, isn’t doing nearly the business that Surfstich is. He knows this because is owned by Billabong, and Billabong is a shareholder in Surfstitch

“So I know what that business is doing and it’s not doing anywhere near what we’re doing [in terms of turnover],” Cameron said.

In Europe its main competitor is Blue Tomato, which reported annual net sales of $42.3 million for the year to 30 April 2012, of which 75% was generated through e-commerce.

“We do significantly more [than our competitors' revenue],” said Cameron, who also said Surfstitch would turnover $80 million this financial year.

Surfstitch now has five European online stores and also runs Billabong’s e-commerce platform. In total, it manages more than 20 different websites.

“We represent more than 500 brands and have the ability to touch consumers across a number of different genres, including surfwear, sportswear, street fashion and accessories,” said Cameron. “We have seen a significant shift of consumer spending to online and we have been able to capitalise on that.”

Cameron says consumers can access a massive 20,000 different products through the business’s sites, something no other online surf brand can come close to matching.

“We launched before there were daily deal sites. When we started eBay was really the only option [for buying apparel online]. In the fashion space there was only us and ASOS. Being first allowed us to build awareness and scale very quickly.”

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