E-commerce platform sees fast recovery of China market

Global e-commerce platform Avenue51 helps over 100 British and other European brands carry orders worth more than 50 million pounds to Chinese mainland consumers and online retailers annually.

Aaron Zhang, co-founder of Avenue51, told CGTN that the new Foreign Investment Law, which went into effect earlier this year, is making the company's investment more secure and expected it would support his company's endeavors in China, which would be beneficial as the company prepares to go public in two years.

Zhang said the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the company's logistics, but expected fast economic recovery for China as businesses resume and consumption rebounds.

He said the company is confident in the world's biggest consumer market and set up a new office in east China's Hangzhou City in January.

The following are excerpts from the interview, edited for brevity and clarity.

CGTN: How has the new foreign investment law benefited foreign enterprises, especially smaller-scale ones like your company?

Zhang: I believe the new Foreign Investment Law will help many small- and medium-sized enterprises do business in China. Currently, most of the foreign investment in China comes from big, global and wealthy enterprises, because it was too difficult for small businesses to operate in China. As a foreign company, we've experienced a lot during the past few years. The first corporate level problem we had was the stockholding in terms of financial structure.

As we plan to list on the London Stock Exchange in two years, the new Foreign Investment Law gives us an opportunity to do consolidated accounts for our UK side and China side business.

It means we can bring our company's China assets into our listing entity in the UK, which may benefit our company valuation.

CGTN: How has the coronavirus outbreak influenced your company? How will your company adjust its business?

Zhang: First of all, the shipping cost from the UK to China increased about three times, this is because airlines suspended direct flights to China due to the coronavirus. This is apparent in some categories, especially low value products like food. We were not able to bear such high costs, so we had to ship by sea or rail.

Going forward the company will cooperate with or invest in more brands in the health care and personal care industries. This is because we expect people to pay more attention to how they can improve their immune system and ensure better personal hygiene and public health.