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Qurious China Podcast Episode 3: Common Myths & Cross-border Ecommerce with Will Zhao, Metcash

In this episode, I was delighted to speak to Will Zhao, Head of China Operations at Metcash Asia Limited (MAL) about Metcash's unique strategy in China as well as Will's views on Chinese consumers, Cross-Border ECommerce and etc.

Prior to joining MAL, Will has accumulated extensive experience from various industries including Finance, Real Estate, Government, Media and Manufacturing across Australia, Asia and Europe. Will has been living and working in China for the past 4 years, of which 2 are with MAL.

In this episode, I got to pick Will's brains on Metcash's unique China strategy, its target audience, the rationals behind going into non tier-one cities in China and some common myths perceived by foreign businesses about the China market.

Will is happy to be reached on if you'd like to pick his brains about your products, your brands or just China in general. Anything really, he said.

Without further ado, hope you enjoy this episode and please share with anyone you think may benefit from it.

Show Notes:

1:46 - Will's background, his China journey and how he ended up with Metcash

4:20- Intro of Metcash and its China operations

5:45 - Metcash's target audience in China and how it differentiates itself from other platforms

9:37 - Metcash's B2B vs B2C (cross-border Ecommerce) strategy

10:20 - What are the most popular imported products for the Chinese consumers

11:19 - Metcash's biggest competition in the Chinese market

12:13 - "China doesn't need your products" , Will's view on Daigou and common myths perceived by the businesses

16:40 - Metcash's unique cross-border Ecommerce strategy

18:40 - Metcash's targeting of 3rd, 4th and 5th- tier cities in China and why

22:15 - Characteristics and attitudes of consumers from non tier-one Chinese cities in Will's opinion towards the imported goods

24:38 - Changes in those markets and where it's headed

27:37 - Other methods to help cut through to the Chinese consumers alongside the Ecommerce platform

29:20 - Is Metcash going to go offline in China?

30:05 - Will's view on China's Cross-Border trade policy

30:30 - Will's take and advice on pricing across the parallel systems of the online cross-border channel and general trading offline

32:52 - How does Daigou come into play with the pricing?

34:40 - Will's advice on entering the Chinese market

38:37 - Upcoming plan for Will and Metcash

What's mentioned and extended reading:


Below are the links I found online that I think may be useful and do not represent any organisation mentioned. Views are my own and please read with caution.

- Cross-border Ecommerce policy

A pretty good summary by Austrade for those who aren't yet familiar with the policy

- China's Tiered Cities System

These two links should serve as an entry point into China's tiered cities system. However, please note that the SCMP one is from 2016 so might be slightly outdated but good infographics for reference.

- One Belt One Road

The topic is huge and Australia isn't directly part of the strategy but there's still work that we partake especially from an infrastructure point of view. Here's a good summary:

- Tax implications on Daigou

There's rumours that Australian Tax Office targeting eCommerce businesses may have an implication on the Daigou business but I couldn't find any credible source. The below two links may provide some insights.

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