Renata Thiébaut, a Brazilian residing in China for over 15 years, is the COO of Green Proposition & Trainer of Alibaba Global Initiatives, as well as Harvard University Senior Researcher. She shared her take on e-commerce and shared prosperity in this exclusive interview with GDToday & Newsgd.com.
Thiébaut helps foreign brands set up their online stores here in China. Over the years, she has witnessed that e-commerce is not only helping the country to develop more in terms of technology and artificial intelligence, but also bringing about societal changes.
E-commerce promotes development in China’s rural areas
GDToday: Working in the e-commerce industry, how do you think e-commerce industry can bring prosperity to us all especially in this difficult pandemic situation and this ever-changing world?
Renata Thiébaut: In China, e-commerce is really helping the country to develop not only in terms of technology and artificial intelligence, but also social changes. For example, more farmers are selling online. Some platforms like Pinduoduo, JD.com and Alibaba are very important, because they bring the farmers to their markets and that increased their salaries. Many younger people in rural areas no longer want to leave their home for big cities, because they do have more opportunities with e-commerce back home. China really has put in place many policies, regulations, initiatives and projects to boost the countryside’s development.
Government and society jointly achieve moderate prosperity
GDToday: On July 1, President Xi announced that China has realized its first centenary goal--building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Could you tell us why you think China can achieve moderate prosperity, or Xiaokang in Chinese?
Renata Thiébaut: I think the government is a key factor. How the government really acts to the overall development of the country is important, so is how people adapt to new circumstances. Now we have a certain level of robotization and many people now shop online and do everything with their Wechat. This is because of the good response from the whole society, people are able to catch up with the dynamics of these changes in China.
BRI brings more opportunities for e-commerce
GDToday：In recent years, the BRICS countries have jointly spoke out on major regional and international issues, and greatly enhanced the representation of emerging markets. What changes have you seen in Brazil with the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as BRICS cooperation?
Renata Thiébaut: Many new projects and initiatives were done within the BRICS, most of which are involving infrastructure or sustainability. As for e-commerce, I think there are not so many projects but there are many opportunities. For example, AliExpress from Alibaba is opening a huge center in Brazil to start the market based on Tmall business model. There are still many topics and areas regarding digitalization and especially e-commerce where the BRICS countries can cooperate. For instance, teaching the new generation digital and e-commerce skills is very promising.
GBA will be a gateway for e-commerce in China
GDToday: What’s your impression of Guangdong? Now China is developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, how do you see the e-commerce opportunities in the Greater Bay Area?
Renata Thiébaut: Guangdong is an amazing province. I have attended the Canton Fair for so many years, and Shenzhen is very important for China's development on technology and e-commerce. The Greater Bay Area is a gateway for e-commerce in China. Since e-commerce is not just done region by region, you can reach consumers from Xinjiang, Tibet to Guangzhou through one marketplace. So, this area will be very important for future developments, and it will also bring more products from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong, Macao and vice versa.
Planning | Zhao Yang
Reporter | Keane, Hannah, Sherry(intern)
Video | Axin, Jason (intern)
Editor | Wing, Ou Xiaoming, Jerry
Art Design | Mia
Huang Yanting (intern) also contributed to this report.