July 15, 2019

Caleffi on Alibaba Cloud

In May 2019, Caleffi established the website in Chinese on Alibaba Cloud: a strategic choice that highlights the desire to get even closer to the important Chinese market.


Until some time ago, we used to look to the United States to generate digital innovations; however, this is no longer the case, as we must also look to the Far East countries now. In fact, China is developing more revolutionary and progressive digital models for technology, business and consumption than any other models at the international level.
For example, there is a very good chance that China will become a world leader in AI (thanks to the declared commitment of its government), as well as becoming the undisputed leader in e-commerce, wiping out any other competitor. It already has the highest value today of transactions with a 35% penetration of the global market, mostly via mobile payments (more than 10 times the size of US mobile payments).

The almost 1.4 billion people living in China, are extremely digitally aware and connected via smartphones. Half use social media and marketplaces (such as WeChat, Weibo, TMall) excessively on a daily basis. In doing so they register a good 73% of transactions via mobile, mostly snubbing internationally used brand sites.  Chinese customers are very selective and impatient. If something does not satisfy them, they look for a better alternative, changing preferences without hesitations. 
A scenario that confirms how achieving satisfaction remains fundamental even - or perhaps even more so - in China.

A final important consideration to be kept in mind is that "Italy is under-represented in China. In fact, it has a share of less than 1% of exports there, compared to a world average share of almost 3%".  This is something that Italian industry should change as soon as possible. We, in our own small way, are part of that 1%, since we have now completed 20 years of successful trading with China. Twenty years of history guided by local advisors who are well aware of the cultural habits of such a vast and rapidly growing country.


Faced with this scenario, it becomes important to understand the reason for the migration on Alibaba Cloud. It had become essential to have a technological platform that could improve the performance of data distribution and facilitate integration with the articulated Chinese digital universe. The Google Cloud Platform, on which the entire Caleffi web heritage is hosted, is in fact difficult to reach from China and is subject to slowdowns. This is due to technological problems of interconnecting cross-borders.  Therefore, many customers complained of a site that is too slow and at times returned timeout errors.

Per quanto riguarda i risultati relativi alle performance, vi invitiamo a leggere l'approfondimento tecnico di SparkFabrik, nostro partner tecnologico in questo progetto.

A less obvious, but still important aspect was also the increase in the speed of the content management system (CMS). Until recently, this had slowed down the work of updating editors residing in China, who had to rely on a VPN-based infrastructure. In short, we found ourselves in a win-win situation, regarding both the internal market and the dynamics of international business.


Moving everything on AliCloud responds to the clear need to recognise the characteristics of the Chinese users who, as we have seen, are more digitally aware, more impatient and more familiar to us through online purchases. The site, which is physically closer to visitors and potential customers, will soon be integrated into local social platforms (from WeChat to Youku). This will improve user experience that is almost taken for granted and will be more easily indexed by Baidu (Google's alter ego on Eastern territories).  
This is a first step, clearly, towards more structured and potentially more progressive digital communication in China.  For the moment, we are indeed proud of being the only ones among our Italian competitors to have an online presence in China at the highest levels, at least in terms of cloud hosting.