The digital economy is now experiencing spectacular developments, with the pace of change accelerating across areas of global IoT industries, artificial intelligence, and big data advancements. This is not only significant to our lifestyles, but will also greatly impact future industry developments. On behalf of Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, on the 27th to 28th of September, the External Trade Development Council hosted the 2017 DATE SUMMIT in an effort to ensure Taiwan industries are staying on top of the changing world.
With 27 business leaders from 11 countries, the summit has identified seven key business innovations, highlighting mobile commerce, digital trends, global markets, brand e-commerce, new courses in South East Asia e-commerce, social commerce, and artificial intelligence, with more than 1,500 people joining for great talks and lively discussions across the two days.
Mr. Chuang Suo-hang, vice chairman of the External Trade Development Council, remarked in his opening speech that “the council’s mission is to create an international platform for Taiwan businesses, and also to accelerate digital transformation across industries”; David Hsu ,Deputy Director General,Bureau of Foreign Trade, emphasized Taiwan’s advantageous position with strong internet infrastructures and cutting edge technologies, and it is a top priority for the Taiwan government to assist in paving the pathway for future innovative digital opportunities. Commercial Deputy Chief of the American Institute in Taiwan, Mark Lewis also points out that collaborations within the internet and tech industries will be key for future US and Taiwan economic cooperation.
No. 1：Apps that stick in 8 seconds, are the ones that work
According to Benoit Roblin, mobility solutions director of Zipcar, the average time of a user spend in-app is about 8 seconds, thus UI design must be simple and easy for the users to grasp important information. App with overwhelmed information or over-complex UI that loads more than 8 seconds may end up losing customers.
No. 2：Community feedback is the key to building high loyalty among users
According to Marcus Tan, co-founder of Carousell, there are three key elements to a successful e-commerce business, “Stay simple, build a great community, and be Smart.”. Which means to simplify user interface, listen to feedback and build a community of happy buyers and sellers, and to up the efficiency level through smart systems.
No. 3：Now is the time for Taiwan companies to reach out globally through cross-border e-commerce
GM of Amazon Taiwan, Clare Lin points out how supply chains have hugely departed from the past, and suppliers have the means to sell directly to consumers through the internet, effectively cutting out the import and wholesale middlemen. This points to a more efficient modes of selling, lower costs, and less stock pressure. Clare Lin also stresses the importance of Taiwan suppliers in looking to cross-border e-commerce to build an international presence.
Maverick Ventures founder Yaron Carni talked about how Israel, a small country with little domestic market and natural resources, have devoted themselves to research, development and building up strong entrepreneurial spirit. Many startups have since become major breakthroughs in the global market, such as Waze, known for the navigation system ;and SolarEdge, known for solar energy development . Yaron Carni thinks that Taiwan, with a promising innovation outlook similar to Israel, should actively seek for international collaborations, in order to be visible to international investors to find, paralleling the strategy many Israeli startups took.
No. 4： Localization services generates user adhesion and helps obtain global market shares.
Giulio Xiloyannis, fashion platform ZALORA’s MY, TW, HK & SG’s Managing Director talks about how the speedy growth of ZALORA’s was based on solid market research effort, as market maturity is different among the Southeast Asian countries, resulting in varied product demands consuming habits.
Oliver Prothmann, the president of German Federal Association of eCommerce, advises Taiwan e-commerce companies to be bold and not afraid of trying new things, and really zone in on brainstorming what tailored products and services does each market need, and most importantly, be in touch with the local market culture to provide the right products and services. And last but not least, we must not forget to “think globally while act locally”, emphasizes Joel Leong, co-founder of Shopback, a fast-rising Singapore-based e-commerce startup setting its’ sight on the Asian market.
No. 5：Trial and error is the essential Internet industry DNA, and experience is vital in finding differentiated markets.
Jerry Kuo of the Kuobrothers Corp sees the internet as a long history of “trial and error”. Looking back on his own experience, he says that the key to building an internet brand is not how much capital you invest, but how quick you can differentiate, and speed up the process of trial and error.
No. 6: Fulfilling “niche needs” can be a major selling point, and mine potential from online communities
On the topic of community-based ecommerce, Online restaurant reservation platform EZTABLE and travel experience e-commerce platform KKday were invited to talk about their experience in founding startups based on vertical online communities. They both stress the importance of going into the details of your service, whether it’s KKday securing local experience trips for their customers, or EZTABLE CEO Alex Chen willing to go the lengths of doing thorough research by heading to Indonesia in person, before the launch of their service there. For e-commerce businesses, localization becomes the key for taking roots and long-term growth, and this includes being there at the frontline to observe, and mingle with local cultures and the environment. Being passionate about the local market is a great motivator for investing in local growth, and successfully implementing localisation of the business.
No. 7: Artificial intelligence will permeate every industry, and data will be the key to providing precise e-commerce services
Tim Pan, Outreach Director of Microsoft Research Asia, believes that with the developments in big data, cloud computing and arithmetic capability, AI will be the next big thing in every industry, not unlike how the Internet happened. E-commerce should utilize “big data” to conduct pattern mining, to build tailored solutions, such as chatbots.
On day 2 of the summit, Dean Samuels, AWS Solutions Architect Manager of Hong Kong and Taiwan of Amazon, states that we should not see AI as just a disruptive tool, but as a great tool for humans to use, aiding us in developing better services by targeting the consumer needs. Mr. Pan also thinks that AI will inevitably be greater than humans, but AI is, and will remain a tool We should focus on creating jobs and values where AI cannot.
The two-day summit has analyzed numerous exciting opportunities for Taiwan to develop its current digital economy, and advising local businesses how to reach out globally. With numerous international heavyweight speakers on the bill for this year’s event, it can also be seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s important role within the global digital market.