Startups and Shanghai FTZ - Negative List

Shanghai Free Trade Pilot Free Trade Zone

In my previous article Best Location for Startups in China - Shanghai FTZ I talked about Startups and Shanghai FTZ. When I wrote that article my view were too optimistic about the openness of the FTZ. But next day right before the golden week, Shanghai government released the negative list [1]. It turned out to be more restrictive than anticipated. In this article I will talk briefly about the negative list and its impact on Startups in Shanghai FTZ.


Best Location For Startups in China - Shanghai FTZ

Shanghai Free Trade Pilot Free Trade Zone

There has been a lot of buzz and news on Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ). But majority of the news is focused on Financial Reforms, Logistics and other large business connected to multi-nationals. But if you are living in China like me for a long time you would realize that if Shanghai Free Trade Zone offers the benefits as outlined in the first regulatory draft, it might pave the way for Shanghai to be a leading innovation center for doing Startups in China. It will enable young innovative brains to get away from regulatory and legal hoops and concentrate on building something great to help humanity. In this article I try to look at FTZ from startup perspective besides covering the overall regulatory draft.

Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) - First Regulatory Draft [1]

Shanghai Government with support from China Central Government unveiled the first draft of regulation governing the Free Trade Zone (hereafter called FTZ) on 27th September 2013. This FTZ is considered as second biggest change in China after the opening up of Chinese economy by Deng Xiao Ping in 1990’s by establishing Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. It marks the trasition of Chinese economy from world’s factory into a developed economy driven by consumptions and services with free market economy. This will serve as a blueprint for Chinese government for transition of China to free market economy. Only time will tell how its going to shape China and its development, but definitely by bypassing the local ministry and their entrenched interest the Central Government of China has indicated its willingness to reform and change the course of Chinese economy.


Where the Mind is Without Fever

Rabindra Nath Tagore & Albert Eintstein Aug, 1941

From childhood I had a dream to see a single unified world without national boundaries and recently influenced by some of the works of Rabindra Nath Tagore. What I found is that irrespective of the country (which in itself is man made notion to segregate humanity into different groups), most places teach nationalism and patriotism since childhood. So it becomes difficult to think like a global citizen, being grown up with the notion of country and nationality. We need to make conscious efforts to make ourself accept the idea of global citizen and being a human first before nationalism or patriotism.


Online and Offline Integration for Retail: Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPS)

In the previous article I discussed about Internet and eCommerce Trends in China and in second one discussed about eCommerce Services Market Size in China, in this article I will explore Integration of Online and Offline Channels in Retail: Impact of Buy Online and Pick Offline on Sales (also known as BOPS). I am always interested in research and analysis in the integration of online and offline in retail. This helps me in my strategy work for solution and services portfolio, which directly address the challenges faced by traditional retail and consumer brands for transition from pure offline and online operations to an integrated online-offline operations. Also this seems to the future direction of retail.

  • In-store Sales Increase 3.6%
  • Online Sales Decrease 1.8%

Yesterday (i.e. 23 rd July 2013) I was intrigued by research work [1], which shows a very interesting conundrum. Contrary to expectations the implementation of Buy-Online-Pick-Offline (BOPO) resulted in reduction in online sales and an increase in in-store sales and traffic. This prompted me to write this article to share with others my point of view on this.


eCommerce Service’s Market Size in China

eCommerce Services Market in China is 237.8 billion ¥ in 2012

My first article was about Internet and eCommerce Trends in China, in this article I will try to write about the emerging Third Party eCommerce Service Providers Market Size in China. Since my current company is one of the leading eCommerce services provider in China, it was very important to really gauge the size of 3rd party eCommerce service providers market in China. Initially what seemed easy, turned out to be very difficult. Given the myriad of options and ways retail and consumer brands in China were approaching eCommerce, there is no clear way to estimate the size. There were very few reports and most of them were not based on solid data or research (mostly estimations on limited surveys). If someone is interested they can refer to one such report from Mckinsey China’s e-tail revolution [1], and refer to page 18 and 19. Partially the unavailability of research and solid data motivated me to write this article and share my way to estimate the size of the market. Hopefully the readers of this article may provide me with active feedback on how to improve it or point me to solid methodology, research or data.


Internet and eCommerce Trends in China

Internet Users: 564 Million
Mobile Users: > 1 Billion

China is already home to largest number of internet and mobile users in the world. Soon it will also overtake the crown of largest eCommerce market in the world. As part of my job, I work on analysing broader trends in digital transformation and Internet in China; primarily to help my current company in defining roadmap and fine tuning business strategy for coming years. During the course of my research in analysing trends, many resources proved useful, and I thought its necessary to share some of the things I learned durign my work. So in keeping with the traditions of knowledge is power when shared, I started this series of articles to share some of my findings and insights. Hopefully some people may find this information useful. Hopefully I can also improve this article and my knowledge by feedback through comments.

This is the first article in this series in which I will discuss Internet and eCommerce trends in China.


Setup OpenCart on Joyent Cloud

One day my brother asked for help in setting up an eCommerce system for him. After evaluating plethora of eCommerce system decided to install OpenCart for him. Since eCommerce is the core business my brother did not want to outsource it. For the purpose of evalutation did research on the following open source eCommerce platforms:



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