Europe firms eye China potential

Added On January 19, 2018

This week's China Connect conference looks to help all that.
As the event brings together Europe's largest gathering of experts on Chinese business trends. 
Held in Paris, the event aids Western companies to develop strategies to cater to China's burgeoning consumer market.
According to China Connect's website, so far, more than 600 professionals have attended the conference.
Among them are French business leaders, but also entrepreneurs who flew in from the UK and China to participate in the event.
SOUNDBITE 1 (English): LAURE DE CARAYON, founder of China Connect
"The idea is whether we are in Shanghai or in Paris, we help the Chinese and European tech communities to meet. First, it's also to help Westerners crack the Chinese market and really understand the Internet ecosystem and how marketing works in China to reach the Chinese. And, when we are in China actually, it's really to be the preferred station for the Europeans and Chinese to meet."
During the conference, participants learn about innovative developments and new trends in China, the world's second largest economy.
Speakers, hailing from established companies such as LVMH and Alibaba, talk about the importance of digital technology, apps, and social networking platforms like WeChat.
China Connect aims to encourage firms to emulate their Asian counterparts' online.
According to one estimate, China's online retail sales are expected to grow 20 to 25 percent in the next two years.
SOUNDBITE 2 (English): LAURA PHO DUC, Alibaba Group 
"Well, I think the development of technology in China should influence what's going on in Europe. But at the moment I think they have not made the switch yet in France, in French companies, from the ‘made in China’ to the ‘created in China,’ and they need to maybe have more collaboration with us and the 11.11, for instance, is a kind of laboratory for the Frenchmen to make this innovation with us."
Besides organizing the meetups, Laure de Carayon also collaborates with French businesses that aim to expand their business to China. 
She offers entrepreneurs advice regarding effective strategies and consumer expectations in the country.
Among her clients is Splio, a Paris-based customer experience management provider. 
For eight years now, Splio operates two offices in China.
SOUNDBITE 4 (English): CHARLES WELLS, Splio Chief Marketing Officer
"Right, so we're working with China Connect to actually look at our communication strategies for China. And so, as an expert in bridging the gap between the two countries, we're working with them to work on some of our communication plans for 2018."
SOUNDBITE 5 (English): CHARLES WELLS, Splio Chief Marketing Officer
"And we have customers that come to us now, European retailers and e-marketers that are e-commerce players. They're looking for the Chinese expertise and the European expertise. They're looking for a partner that not only understands their home business, which is in Europe, but also their expansion, what they're going to be doing in China."
Laure de Carayon says despite the many challenges for European entrepreneurs to set up shop in China, she is excited to see more French businesses are trying their luck out East.
SOUNDBITE 6 (English): LAURE DE CARAYON, founder of China Connect
"It's, you know, a land of opportunities with so much to know about and I think there's an opportunity to go beyond, in the big tracks, the usual ones and precisely find genius strategies. And again, the excitement comes from that as well. It's challenging and exciting."
The next China Connect conference is scheduled on March 7 and 8 in Paris. 
A similar event will also be held in Shanghai this summer.