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$50 Million in 3 Days: Pioneer of Baby Product E-commerce Websites

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From March 16th to March 18th, a special festival was held on miyabaobei.com, a Chinese e-commerce website. Its sales model is very similar to Zulily,which focuses on baby products flash sales, but the merchandise of Miyabaobei are mainly from overseas. A new born company and a vertical e-commerce website, this young Imported Diapers Shopping Festival helped Miyabaobei to prove its success by the $50 million GMV(gross merchandise volume) in three days.

The huge potential in Chinese E-commerce market has already been seen through the $9.3 billion GMV during the 11.11 Shopping Festival (The Single’s Day Festival) held by the Alibaba Group on Nov 11, 2014. This tremendous number helped to set a Guinness World Record  as the “highest online sales revenue generated by a single company in 24 hours”.

Whereas the 11.11 Shopping Festival was mostly related to the enthusiasm of Chinese e-shoppers, the success of the Imported Diapers Shopping Festival was more like a demonstration of the caution and caring of the Chinese parents toward the younger generation.

By optimizing the supply chain of diapers in its cross-border e-commerce model, Miyabaobei is able to offer a competitive price for authentic baby products when compared to the traditional sales model.

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Picture edited by Shibei Ding, Information retrieved from Miyabaobei’s official website

For instance, a diaper with the wholesale price of 70 yuan (approximately 11.5 dollars) needs to go through the Japanese merchant, Chinese merchant, wholesalers, district wholesalers and eventually get to the consumer at the price of 115-130 yuan (approximately 20 dollars). However, with the optimized supply chain and under the duty-free policy, the price that Miyabaobei offers is 99 yuan (approximately 16.5 dollars). As a product with high re-purchase rate and low urgency, this difference in price leads Miyabaobei to the most selected baby products e-commerce website regardless of the comparatively slow shipping time, which is about 20 days.

Vertical Business to Consumer(B2C) targeted at the baby products is not the invention of Miyabaobei’s founder, Nan Liu. This type of business in China started from Redbaby, founded in 2004 and launched their own website two years later.

In a considerable amount of time, Redbaby remained the most clicked baby product e-commerce website according to Alexa. However, the sales volume of Redbaby dropped dramatically from 2009 to 2010, accompanied by the company’s strategy to expand their business to a wide range of products whereas putting less effort into the baby products that brought them to success three years ago. Losing their earned advantage at this critical point when moms are transferring from the catalog purchase to e-commerce, Redbaby did not manage to get back on track.

Redbaby was acquired by Suning Appliance Co. Ltd., a privately owned retail company and one of the three top B2C companies in China, in 2012.

Nan Liu’s Miyabaobei(meaning sweet sprout baby in Chinese) was previously a successful online retail store that has both high reputation and sales volume on Taobao Marketplace, one of the world’s top ten most visited websites according to Alexa. At the time of starting this online store she was both a full-time mom and the opinion leader on the online forum of pregnant moms. She did a lot of research on the Merries diapers from Japan and decided to do something with this information.

After two years of smooth operation, the annual sale of this online retail store has reached 5 million dollars. She was then offered a chance to sell this online retail store, which has led her to her alumni, Xiaoping Xu, a respectful investor, in Peking University for advice. He turned out to be the first investor of Miyabaobei, bringing 200,000 dollars cash to the new born company in 2014. As of May 2015, Miyabaobei has attracted over $80 million investments and its monthly revenue reached 20 million dollars.

The success of Miyabaobei, or the failure of the previous baby product e-commerce websites, is one of the important footnotes in the age of vertical e-commerce. They remind the e-tailers the significance of focusing on their niche market, being aware of their strong points and enhancing it.

In the case of Miyabaobei, the company is still trying to improve its brand by bringing in new functions such as social function and tagging function on the photos uploaded by users that lead to product sales. It also recognizes the crucial role of mobile purchase, especially for new mothers who will definitely find the buy diapers on the phone (maybe at the same time singing lullaby for her baby) a lot easier than sitting in front of the computer to make a purchase. According to the report by iResearch, over 75% of orders on Miyabaobei were done on mobile devices.

 

 

 

 

Callum Connects

Mark Winterton, General Manager of InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay

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Mark Winterton has dedicated his life to achieving unparalleled and extraordinary guest experiences in the hospitality industry.

What’s your story?
I’m a seasoned hospitality professional with over twenty years international experience launching luxury brands, repositioning existing brands and driving innovation for some of the world’s most successful hotels.

As General Manager of InterContinental® Singapore Robertson Quay, I’m responsible for the strategic positioning of the property as the next generation of the InterContinental hotel brand and have been spearheading the hotel since its opening in October 2017, with the goal of achieving a unique and unrivalled market positioning as Singapore’s most luxurious residential hotel.

I started my career with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) in 1995 and have since been dedicating myself towards achieving perfection. I find immense fulfillment in leading my team towards achieving extraordinary and unparalleled guest experiences.

What excites you most about your industry?
The hospitality industry boasts an extremely dynamic landscape, and we are always seeing new hotels opening alongside the entry of burgeoning brands. This growth has, over time developed positive competition and generated positive driving forces that have elevated the overall standard of the industry in Singapore. The industry has a dynamic landscape. There are many opportunities to bring the right people together and create amazing teams to launch or reposition hotels. The process of creating teams, inspiring individuals and then working together to bring a project to life is where I find the excitement lies.

What’s your connection to Asia?
The lure of Asia has always been very strong for foreign economies and companies, with great accessibility to new opportunities, customers, consumers and clients. My first foray into Asia was back in 2007, when I launched Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore. Following that, I was also based in Bangkok for a couple of years for the rebranding of Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park. Over my years in Asia, I have had the opportunity to truly immerse myself in new cultures, establish new connections with key counterparts and friends; and these have further solidified my interest in and strengthened my connection to Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore. Commonly known as the gateway to Asia, we’ve been blessed with a stable government, a sound political economy and a comprehensive infrastructure for reliable business operations. With tremendous efforts put in by the Singapore Tourism Board towards elevating the city as an attractive venue for visitors, the growth of Singapore as a key MICE destination, coupled with a cosmopolitan pool of talent, Singapore remains my favourite city in Asia for business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“You can never be 100% ready for a new role.” I believe that there will always be room for growth and learning on the job. As long as a person is 80% ready for a new role, the opportunity should be extended. I am a strong believer in the development of people and the grooming of talent, and this piece of advice has allowed me to take more chances on people I’ve worked with and developed over the years.

Who inspires you?
Simon Sinek, a speaker with TED Talk.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I don’t think I can pinpoint just one lesson learnt recently, as learning is an ongoing process. No matter how small a piece of knowledge may seem, it should be valued. Everyday is a journey of learning and development.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing at all. I don’t believe in regrets and everything that has happened thus far, has had a part to play in who I am and where I stand today.

How do you unwind?
Spending time with friends over relaxed conversations and wine or working my green fingers in my balcony garden.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. It’s one destination where I’ve always returned to, simply because it offers me the same level of comfort and familiarity each time I return. It’s where I can feel most relaxed, yet still be able to enjoy the vibrant dining scene.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.

Shameless plug for your business:
Officially opened on 12 October 2017, InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is the first international luxury hotel brand situated at Robertson Quay. Set amidst a dynamic, sophisticated neighbourhood along the Singapore River, known for its dining options and arts houses, the luxury residential-inspired hotel has been carefully curated by world-­class designers, architects and culinary purveyors. Located minutes away from the CBD, the hotel still maintains a stylish but laid back, relaxed feel in the leafy, upscale neighbourhood of Robertson Quay. The hotel offers 225 luxurious studios and suites, including an expansive Penthouse, which has unparalleled views of both the Singapore River and vibrant city via floor-­to-­ceiling windows.

The residential-­inspired property combines elements from Robertson Quay’s industrial and intriguing past with sleek contemporary finishes whilst seamlessly blending into the residential surrounds. Light-­filled room interiors have been designed to magnify the familiar comforts of home where guests may enjoy bespoke amenities such as a specially designed in-­room cocktail kit.

Established as part of a holistic dining and lifestyle destination, the hotel boasts a wide range of restaurant and bar concepts. Flagship restaurant Publico, representing the central core of Italian culture, is a multi-­concept dining destination comprising a variety of Italian experiences under one roof – a neighbourhood deli and bar and a ristorante with adjoining terrazzo by the river. Other highlights throughout the hotel include New York institution Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, and a bar and dining concept from the team behind Izy Sushi. Over 40 other dining options await at the hotel doorstep, in The Quayside precinct.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markwinterton1/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Joel Tay, CEO of Soft Space

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With a desire to run his own business, Joel Tay wanted to tick two boxes first – trying his hand in the corporate world and knowing the business he wanted to end up in.

What’s your story?
I’ve always wanted to run my own business. Before that, I needed to fulfill two important things. The first thing, having a corporate foundation, and the second, knowing the business that I’m getting into. First of all, after gaining experience with Ernst and Young, I started a school in Jakarta with my mother, who used to be a teacher. Some of my ex-colleagues laughed at me for doing this instead of working towards partnership like everybody else.

While the school was running, I returned to the corporate world because I was given a chance to try out something I’ve always wanted to try, consulting in IT Security, and this time with PwC. In my second return to the business world, I never looked back. I started a mobile device distribution company with friends, and later on diversified into IT Consulting in Mobile Device Management, and subsequently ended up in the payments business.

Today I manage Soft Space – a company thriving in the payments industry with a group of talented colleagues and engineers. The school I mentioned earlier is now in 8 different locations across Jakarta serving more than one thousand students.

What excites you most about your industry?
Payments are evolving so quickly; there’s so much to learn. No one can really say that they know everything there is to know about payments. I have learnt so much going from one country to another learning each time how payments work uniquely in each society.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Asia is Soft Space’s focus. We strongly believe that markets in Asia will be the primary drivers and innovators in the payments space for years to come.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Bangkok. I have a great business partner there, the banks are innovative, the market is huge and the people are creative.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
My parents reading Matthew 6:33 to me: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” This has taught me to prioritise the important things in life, and then everything else will fall into place according to God’s will.

Who inspires you?
My father and my Godfather. Both are men of principles who are very successful in their own trade, loving to their families and God-fearing.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The amount of money technology companies in the US lost in 2017. In Asia, and in particular SEA, investors won’t take two glances at your company if you’re not profitable to begin with.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Learn Mandarin. When I was young, my teacher gave a group of us a choice – attend Mandarin classes or wash school toilets. Every time I hear my colleagues laugh when I try to speak Mandarin, I think of that moment when we walked towards the toilet.

How do you unwind?
I watch movies with my wife. It takes us to another world and back to reality in two hours. No vacation can be so fast and effective.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. Friendly people, great resorts and good restaurants.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. There are many lessons to be learned from the man who had it all, lost it all, and earned it back again.

Shameless plug for your business:
No one can claim to have one solution that fits all in payments. Your needs are always different and unique to the market you’re operating in. I’d like to think that we’ve been around the industry long enough to be able to advise and customise something for you. https://www.softspace.com.my/about-us

How can people connect with you?
I’m always just an email away – [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@crusaderdotcom

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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