American Wine Merchants launches direct-to-China e-commerce platform
By Ron Hendricks
February 8, 2017
2017 年2 月8 日
Shanghai, China – In cooperation with the California Wine Institute, the Washington Wine
Board, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the Oregon Wine Commission, which are
all supported by the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and its regional Agricultural
Trade Office in mainland China, the American Wine Merchants (AWM) is pleased to announce
the launch of their flagship USA Wine Store on Alibaba’s Tmall.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for US wine brands to reach end consumers in China,” said
AWM Manager, Alex Chen. “Our goal is to provide a central marketplace for USA wine products
in mainland China. We’re especially pleased to partner with Tmall, as it is poised to become the
world’s largest e-commerce marketplace by the end of 2018,” remarked Chen.
“Another important goal of the project is to deliver wine information in Chinese as well as
English,” stated Mr. Chen. “Our aim is to create U.S. wine awareness through education,
marketing and promotion.”
“We are especially proud to have the support of the key United States wine groups that are
backed by the United States Foreign Agricultural Service and its regional Agricultural Trade
Office in mainland China in this ‘first-of-a-kind’ cooperative partnership,” said Chen. “Tmall
already boasts 500 million plus registered users in China and with the right marketing and
promotional activities we believe we can reach each and every one of these users and help
grow US wines in China.”
AWM encourages and welcomes all USA wineries, importers and distributors to have their
products sold through the AWM-Tmall Store.
另外AWM 欢迎所有美国葡萄酒厂、进口商和分销商的产品在AWM 天猫商城上销售。
For additional information about the AWM-Tmall Store, please contact:
Wendy Zhang, Media Relations
“With thousands of individual characters, ever wonder how a Chinese person sends an email?”
Business cards in China are offered and accepted with both hands. It’s a sign of courtesy and respect. After a couple years of exchanging cards, I’d managed to fill a rather large desk drawer with them. One day a fit of efficiency overtook me and I decided to go in search of a Rolodex or business card organizer. It took longer than I expected; most things do in China.
It wasn’t until I’d made my purchase and returned home that it dawned on me – there is no Chinese “alphabet.” At least, not in the way we think of one. Hence, no way to organize most of my cards. Duh. Which brings me to today’s topic, “How do Chinese use an English computer keyboard?”
Firstly, there are such things as Chinese computer keyboards. However, they’re not standardized and not widely used. There are also writing pad interfaces that work well for Chinese characters. However, most Chinese rely on software to change their keystrokes into Chinese text.
Perhaps the two most common software transcription methods in mainland China are Wubi and Pinyin. Wubi means “five pen” or “five stroke” and is based on the idea that Chinese characters can be categorized with five fundamental pen strokes. In contrast, the Pinyin method is based on pronunciation of Chinese “syllables.” Each method has advantages and drawbacks.
In it’s simplest form, Wubi could be input with just the number pad of the keyboard: one for horizontal strokes, two for vertical strokes, three for downward right-to-left strokes, four for dot strokes or downward left-to-right strokes, and five for all other strokes. To utilize this method, users must be familiar with the correct order of strokes, which is actually fairly easy to learn.
Once a user has input the correct strokes in the correct order, Wubi software presents a number of possible Chinese characters from which to choose. This method is probably most suited to individuals with Chinese language background.
Pinyin, on the other hand, is a method more suited to individuals with an English language background. Pinyin breaks Chinese down into “Romanized” syllables. However, because Chinese is a tonal language, the user must also be able to select the correct tone for each syllable.
Mandarin Chinese has four basic tones. They are: first tone – “high and level,” second tone – “rising,” third tone – “falling then rising,” and fourth tone – “falling.” There is also a fifth tone which can be thought of as “neutral.” Cantonese is more complex, with between 6 and 9 tones depending upon the dialect.
A classic example of the difference tones make is with the syllable “ma.” With first tone the word means mother, with second tone the word means hemp, with third tone the word is horse, with fourth tone it means scold, and with the fifth tone the word becomes an interrogative often used at the end of a sentence. Here is an example of a “silly sentence” using the word ma.
My stomach was in knots. For the next eight hours I was going to be moderator of a conference that was doomed to failure! My client was a multinational jewelry firm headquartered in Mumbai, with branch offices in London, New York, Bangkok and a ton of other places. The conference was being held in Guangzhou, China where I’d been living and working as a Corporate Trainer for nearly six years.
I’d been recruited by my long-time friend Tanya, a Chinese businesswoman fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Tanya is both competent and beautiful, and by all rights she should have been leading this conference. However, the jewelry company had stipulated an American male – for “cultural reasons.”
Most of the jewelry workers were local Chinese. Most of the mid and upper level managers were from India. The jewelry company had insisted on English as the language of the day. Well, easy enough for me, but was it realistic to expect conference attendees to understand and retain much, if anything?
The purpose of the all-day conference was to conduct an Employee Workout modeled after the one developed by Jack Welch, the famous CEO of General Electric.The idea is to tap into unused human potential that exists in every business hierarchy by “turning the company upside down.”
Cross-discipline employee teams are asked to identify problems and propose solutions. This requires courage, creativity, candor and directness in an open, supportive environment. Chinese culture is all about giving face and keeping face. Candor and directness do not come easily, especially in the workplace or in a conference such as this.
Although I had little experience with Indian culture, I also guessed that the Indian managers (mostly male) would have their own agendas. For them, a temporary foreign assignment was just one step on their climb up the corporate ladder. Make a good showing in the conference, and who knows what branch office one might head up next year!
Does the above scenario seem familiar to you? Sure, the names and places are changed, but the plot is the same – somehow you’ve been saddled with the seemingly impossible task of organizing a conference where the players come from far-off places with strange-sounding names. And your hands are seemingly tied by company politics and/or decisions beyond your control.
Fear not. Here are a few simple things to bear in mind when planning such an event. (By the way, if you keep reading, I will also tell you how my ill-fated conference turned out.)
The first thing to do is take a deep breath, close your eyes and repeat after me: “We are all alike and we are all different.” Again: “We are all alike and we are all different.” Interestingly, it’s not just a mantra. Scientific evidence supports the notion that your DNA could be a closer match with someone who lives in, say, Timbuktu than it is to the DNA of, say, your neighbor.
Repeating the Alike-Different Mantra will help you remember that seemingly insurmountable obstacles are just nature’s way of telling you to FIND ANOTHER WAY! Okay, so enough Zen mysticism already – let’s lay down some conference guidelines:
1. Make a game plan, starting with the most obvious, but often overlooked item: What do you hope to accomplish? If you could be sure that every conference attendee would remember just one thing, what would it be? Write it down. Your conference agenda should build towards this one point.
2. Make an inventory of your resources. This will include physical space, supplies, reference materials, mentors and of course, your conference interpreter. There is a professional organization of conference interpreters. Here is their website: http://www.aiic.net/
3. Plan, plan, plan and then delegate, delegate, delegate! If you are the obsessive, compulsive person that I think you are (why else would they have chosen you?), the first part will be easy, but the second part will be tough. Yes, you want the conference to be a flawless thing of beauty, but remember there is a thing called synergy!
4. Get your conference materials out as soon as possible. You will probably want to invite feedback at an early stage. This accomplishes two things: one – you’ll be able to head off an impending train wreck (for example: a religious holiday on the same weekend), and two – it allows conference participants to feel invested in your mutual success.
5. Remember to take frequent breaks. This means not only during the conference, but also in the planning stages. Every three hours is good, two and a half is better.
6. Remember to have fun.
This last item reminds me of my promise to you. My conference turned out to be a smashing success. Mostly due to one thing, I think.
After I introduced myself I asked everyone if they wanted to meet my girlfriend. Of course, they couldn’t resist. No, it wasn’t Tanya (I wish). I brought out my constant traveling companion: my guitar. I struck a chord – literally and figuratively – and began to sing. Everyone joined in and I knew it was going to be a great day!