China is now New Zealand’s largest export market since New Zealand signed the China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) back in 2008. In the year ending December 2019, 23% of New Zealand’s total goods and services exports were with China, worth $20.1 billion.
The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and world trade. While lockdowns have been lifted in some countries, China has become the first major economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, New Zealand exports have built up more confidence on China.
Not only has the pandemic caused freight and export/import uncertainties, but also not able to physically exhibit or participate at tradeshows has severely impacted business activities. Events such as the CIIE, Shanghai Global Food Trade Show, and Pet Fair Asia are crucial for international brands to engage with business partners to develop new opportunities.
As a government agency and one of the key bridges to China, the New Zealand Trade Enterprise (NZTE) is responsible for increasing the support and services offered to exporters. This assistance positions New Zealand companies to recover markets, especially in China, enabling them to quickly seize new opportunities.
Due to widespread lockdowns and travel restrictions, many Chinese consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on digital platforms. However, the digital behaviours of Chinese businesspersons are different from the rest of the world. Rather than using email as a primary form of communication, they frequently use WeChat, a “super app” with a relatively independent ecosystem and over 1.2 billion monthly active users (2020).
Aligned with its New Zealand Trade Recovery Strategy, NZTE was keen to provide exporters with access to tailored resources to develop digital capabilities and connect with China markets on WeChat. This B2B solution had to open a platform for NZ brands to promote their products to Chinese partners without physical limitations.
To fulfil this objective and to continually grow the portfolio of NZ businesses, UMS worked with NZTE to come up with a concept of designing a “virtual showroom” in the form of WeChat Mini Program for a smooth user experience. This virtual showroom is open 24/7, offering a credible open platform for NZ brands and exporters to individually manage their own content, including events they have participated in, allowing them to have a cohesive view of their activity. For those advanced digital marketers, they can build on this portal to evolve. They can connect with business partners, nurture leads, promote brands, sell products, share documents, and even drive traffic to e-commerce stores.
Chinese business visitors can experience the virtual trade exhibition by browsing the brand booth, looking up e-catalogues, contacting brands and favouriting brands and products they are interested in and access messages after registration.
Importantly, this virtual showroom comes with the ability to set different roles for administration. User data is presented through a backend dashboard to help NZTE and brands effectively understand and manage their business leads and insights of business visitors, for future user experience enhancement.
NZTE virtual showroom launched in Nov 2020. Click HERE to view the digital solution for an overseas trade government agency to connect businesses digitally.
For more information on how UMS can assist you in your China marketing activities, you can reach out to Becty Yan. Becty leads the UMS Engage Domain who are creative talents that specialises in consumer engagements and performance marketing. Contact Becty now via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.