[WATCH] Europe VS Asia : horizons to embrace, pitfalls to avoid – AGS Europe
In an AGS Europe 2021 panel which was held in Malta, the moderator Dieter Brockmeyer, Co-Founder & Director Innovation & TIME of Diplomatic World Institute, and the panellists Debsena Chakraborty, Business Development at mFilterIt, and Simon de Raadt, VP Business Development Europe at HyperSKU discuss “Europe vs Asia : horizons to embrace, pitfalls to avoid”.
Brockmeyer opens the panel by saying that Europe VS Asia is a hard topic. Online sales between Europe and Asia are very different. Culture and heritage are two big influencers. He asks Chakraborty whether Europe can learn from China. She says that Europe has a lot to learn. As an example, she mentions the super App. In China, they don’t create more than one App, instead they create one App and then they add functionalities to it. This way, they already have the customer base and all they need to do is teach the users how to use it. Initially, WeChat was initially a chat application. Today, you can send money, give a loan, book a taxi, do shopping, etc.
De Raadt says that Europe can learn from China’s ecosystem; an ecosystem which facilitates growth both for the big players and for the service providers. This is very entrepreneurial. The second thing that Europe can learn from China is that Chinese persons work not just to make themselves better, but to lift up their whole family to a higher standard.
Brockmeyer says that it’s not only an entrepreneurial market, but also a highly regulated market where the government takes care of everything. He adds that this might not be something easily copied in Europe and we might not want to have that decree of regulation.
Chakraborty says that when we talk about regulations in a market, there are both good and bad points. She says that in the European market, you don’t know with whom your brand is being associated. In fact, it could be associated with a fake news page and your ad might pop up there. This is a bad place to belong. However, in China, where the government is regulating, it helps. In China, there aren’t many fake sites and your ads go to the proper sites. This is good. However, freedom of speech is also regulated.
De Raadt adds that it is true that China is highly regulated, but there are boundaries. If you keep within those boundaries, you are safe and there are many possibilities and you can live your entrepreneurial dream. If you step over those boundaries, you will get into trouble.
Follow the whole panel discussion here:
Brockmeyer mentions privacy and the proper use of data. He says that in China, and in Asia in general, people don’t worry much about them. In Europe, there is a group of people who is pushing the legislation forward. He asks Chakraborty what is the impact of the different privacy aspects on online marketing.
Chakraborty says that in Europe we work with clients across the globe so it’s very different. Moreover, we are expecting a diminish in cookies which will lead to having more contextual advertising rather than data collection. She adds that as for regulations, there are companies that say they are GDPR compliant, but they aren’t. Therefore, we need to understand where to draw the line.
She mentions the changes brought about by iOS 15. The way of targeting users changes from targeting specific users to behavioral targeting. Maybe in the future there will be those users who refuse to have their behaviour known. She says that at this stage, when it comes to privacy, Europe is far ahead than Asia where it basically doesn’t exist.
De Raadt says that in China there is a continuous growth which creates hope. This growth allows the people to tolerate what’s happening because the benefits outweigh the costs.
Chakraborty says that they have done a small survey asking whether individuals allow their data to be shared. The general public agrees to sharing their data if that helps their life get easier. Then there are those who don’t want their data to be shared but they still want the best online services. This isn’t really possible because engines work on specific recommendations.
De Raadt says that the use/non-use of data for marketing varies according to whom you’re targeting. Inside China, the Chinese market relies heavily on data provided by the platforms which they either buy or buy the service. If it’s a Chinese company abroad, it will face a lot of challenges when it comes to data. These are two different worlds acting on two ecosystems that cannot be integrated. He adds that a lot of non-China and non-US companies will need to make a choice and decide into which ecosystem they are going to tap. Will they choose BATX or GAFA? Or maybe there will be a third independent company.
Brockmeyer says that if we talk about data, we need to talk about bots. How effective are bots and what can we do with them. Chakraborty says that bots are a huge problem. She adds that we need to ask where are these bots making money and why are there so many. To which the answer is from advertisers. She says that according to a study done by Howard, by 2024, the number of bots will outnumber the number of humans. Therefore, it is important to understand how to regulate this market.
De Raadt says that chat bots have proven to be quite useful. Bots generate a lot of growth and efficiency because the majority of the questions are repetitive. By using bots, humans will be able to focus on other areas and as a result you save money.
Chakraborty says that chat bots are different to the bots used by publishers to increase the number of clicks, create fake registrations, steal organic traffic, etc. This is fraud and the governments need to do something because there is a whole digital economy running. She says that if you steal from a bank, you are considered a criminal. However, if you steal the same amount from advertisers, nobody knows and nothing happens. She says that it is becoming a breeding ground for criminal activities. She adds that the lawmakers in Europe and Asia don’t understand digital and as a result nobody is looking into this. The problem is the same in both Europe and Asia.
To summarise, Brockmeyer asks to speak about what we have already learnt from China, Asia, and what we still need to learn. De Raadt focuses on e-commerce and their ecosystem. Another thing is that Chinese don’t localise enough. When Chinese companies go global, they look for Chinese employees. As a result, they do well in China but they struggle to go global.
Chakraborty agrees that Chinese companies tend to work with Chinese people whereas European countries try to hire locals who understand that market really well. This is something that China and Asia need to learn from Europe.
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