Nearly three thousand U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses gather in Detroit this week, looking to learn about the opportunities available to them in the China market.
Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 conference at Detroit’s Cobo Center on June 20-21 will feature presentations and educational breakout sessions aimed at offering small and medium-sized U.S. enterprises insight in how to sell to or source from China in their quest to grow their businesses and go global.
The gathering is also the first step Alibaba is taking to realize Executive Chairman Jack Ma’s commitment to help create 1 million U.S. jobs over the next five years. Ma has long been an advocate of evening the business playing field for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Besides his jobs pledge, Alibaba has begun to roll out its Electronic World Trade platform to connect small businesses and consumers around the globe.
Ma is a headliner at the event. China’s best-known entrepreneur will speak candidly with Charlie Rose on the evening of June 20 about the bright prospects he sees for the world’s small businesses. For those not onsite, you can view the chat onAlizila’s Facebook page.
Kicking off the event that night are Alibaba President Michael Evans, the State of Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Detroit’s mayor, Mike Duggan.
“Our strategy in the U.S. is to help small businesses sell to China. Our objective for Gateway ’17 is to educate small businesses, entrepreneurs and agricultural producers who come to Detroit about the opportunities. And we’re looking at how Alibaba can be a gateway to tap that opportunity and reach Chinese consumers in a way that was never possible before,” Evans said.
Marcus Lemonis, businessman and star of CNBC’s prime-time reality series, “The Profit,” will share lessons with fellow entrepreneurs about how to grow their businesses.
Day Two of Gateway ’17 features a series of presentations from top executives of U.S. brands already succeeding in the China market, including Martha Stewart, one of the U.S.’s most-trusted lifestyle experts and guides over the past quarter-century. In a fireside chat, she’ll talk about her brand has leveraged its vast amount of content and products to inspire a new group of global consumers.
UPS Chief Executive David Abney will share lessons he has learned as ever-advancing technology, globalization and e-commerce, along with macroeconomic forces, continue to transform the way businesses operate around the world.
In the past 90 years, Gerber has become the most-trusted name in baby products in the U.S. Its President and CEO, Bill Partyka, will show how Gerber has taken that trust and extended it to China, where new parents seek high-quality imported products online from around the world.
Executives from two smaller brands that have witnessed extraordinary success selling to China through Alibaba’s Tmall platform will also speak on the morning of Day Two. John McPheters, co-founder and CEO of Stadium Goods has had robust sport-shoe sales since connecting directly with a new generation of “sneakerheads” in China. And Ric Kostick, co-founder and CEO of 100% Pure, a 12-year-old Napa, California company that sells an all-natural line of personal-care items will take the stage. Kostick’s company got its start sourcing products via Alibaba.com, the group’s B2B platform, and is opening an online storefront on Tmall.
Jack Ma caps off the morning with a discussion of why now is a good time for U.S. small businesses to tap the China opportunity.
The rest of the day features parallel breakout sessions by industry and business category. SMEs can learn about selling fashion & apparel to China, everyday goods and fresh food. For companies focused on B2B, there’s also a session on sourcing. The sessions are in panel format, sharing data, information and practical advice to guide the U.S. businesses looking at doing business with China.
Two afternoon panels will focus on advice and platform-positioning for companies that already have some brand-recognition in China and those that don’t yet have brand visibility or a presence in China.
Alizila.com will cover Gateway ’17 through a live blog (URL).