Last month, I was delighted to have had the opportunity to participate in a lively panel discussion with tech giants Tao Zhang (Chairman & Co-Founder, Meituan-Dianping) and Hans Tung (Managing Partner, GGV Capital) to share our personal experiences and thoughts on expanding into US and China during CashShield’s very first global networking event. Special thanks also to Jason Costa (Entrepreneur-in-Residence, GGV Capital) for moderating the entire panel and keeping the questions tough!
US and China are the two largest markets in the world, and cracking both markets are full of opportunities and adversity. Here are some tips gathered during the session that we can all learn from when expanding cross borders:
- Keep sight of China
“Facebook certainly borrows a lot of inspiration from WeChat,” the line that encapsulated the conversation on why China can no longer be ignored, by Jason. While once notoriously known for its counterfeit products, China has now reached a state of innovation and technological development which rivals the US. Keeping eyes strictly on Silicon Valley neglects the fast-growing Chinese tech giants such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and many others that are not only dominating the domestic market but also blazing the global trail with innovations while the rest of the world follows. As China steadily and stealthily transforms itself into one of the top leaders of innovation, it is crucial that we watch them with anticipation.
- You can only conquer both local and foreign markets with a good understanding of both
One of the biggest challenges to overcome when venturing into foreign markets is understanding the cultural differences of the foreign market from what is familiar. For instance: working with American companies is a completely different experience from working with Chinese companies. Successful expansion into both US and China – a mean feat achieved only by a few – requires understanding both markets well and tailoring different strategies localized for the market. Case in point: Musical.ly, which successful operations in both US and China can be attributed to their strategic choice of having the local teams head up by someone who has spent enough time in the respective markets.
- Your people are important
A company’s success is largely determined by its team. Understanding the market is important (Lesson 2), but that can be greatly helped by recruiting a good local team in that foreign market. However, the local teams in the foreign markets must be trusted by the headquarters to make the best decisions suited for the local landscape. For example: eBay had early entry into China’s market, but the lack of trust between the local team and headquarters led to several mistakes and lost market share while Taobao was quickly gaining traction at the time. In the battle for market share, the scale on success or failure could sometimes be tipped by the people.
Cross-border opportunities offer immense potential for business expansion, and we are thankful towards our speakers for these valuable takeaways. CashShield is definitely looking forward to hosting more global networking events!
Justin Lie (Founder & CEO, CashShield)
As a student, Justin already saw the opportunities brought about by the advent of e-commerce and online payments, setting up a cross border e-commerce business. When his sites were attacked by fraudsters, he devised his own system of screening transactions. Over the years of R&D, Justin successfully integrated various disciplines to create the world’s first full machine automated fraud management system that functions without any human involvement.