SEKO Logistics has added 100,000 square feet of warehousing and fulfilment capacity in Hong Kong as it continues to build an ‘ecommerce gateway’ for retail and high-tech customers targeting China’s online consumer market, which is forecast to see spending exceed US$1 trillion in 2017.
SEKO’s latest investment in Hong Kong has seen the opening of a new 50,000 square foot warehouse on the border of Shenzhen in southeastern China, which links Hong Kong to mainland China. It is located 30 minutes from the Port of Hong Kong and 45 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport. In November 2015, SEKO also opened another 50,000 square foot, high security ecommerce warehouse to provide order fulfilment services as well as same-day and next-day deliveries in the city.
The new location close to Shenzhen has 10 dock doors to manage a seamless flow of collections and deliveries and employs some 50 staff. It also incorporates a clean room for high-end fashion products and a pick-and-pack area. Made out of converted sea containers, the building is currently serving 20 SEKO customers, both global brands and leading businesses in the Asia Pacific region. SEKO also has the opportunity to double the size of its facility as volumes increase.
James Gagne, SEKO’s Chief Operating Office, ASPAC said: “Our investment in Hong Kong is being driven by significant ecommerce growth. We are in a strategically important location close to the main port and airport and, most importantly, within easy access of the mainland. Hong Kong and China are among the three fastest-growing locations in SEKO’s global network spanning more than 40 countries but it’s the potential of the market that makes it so exciting. We are giving our customers a total supply chain solution, including best-in-class, customizable technology to manage and grow their businesses to 4.3 billion potential new customers. We can also demonstrate how we are helping companies to access this market quickly and simply because of the infrastructure we have put in place.”
British, European and U.S. brands are in high demand in China and it’s the ease of online shopping that continues to fuel year-on-year spending growth. Chinese consumers currently spend 25% more time on the web than their U.S. counterparts. SEKO says Hong Kong is also a proven gateway for online retailers selling products into other parts of the Asian region, including Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
While omni-channel logistics can be extremely challenging for companies looking to build their presence in Asia, James Gagne says focusing on the B2B market first and then establishing visibility of their inventory and shipments is the way SEKO is helping its customers.
“To access this huge market of buyers, we believe companies should focus on establishing their brands through retail bricks-and-mortar stores and/or B2B channels to penetrate into the region prior to becoming involved with ecommerce and launching B2C initiatives. This makes their brands more familiar to local customers early on. In addition, companies will already have their items imported and stored at their factories, offices or stores so they are prepared in advance for online orders. Shortly after creating their own websites, companies can then consider plugging into local, online marketplace platforms.
“As they grow, it is essential for companies to have as much visibility of their inventory as they have of their shipments, and are receiving real-time data and updates. Through this level of visibility, companies can remove the barriers to entry into new markets and have complete transparency of information concerning their costs, expansion, and inventory. In doing so, they will have the ability to scale out and integrate their ecommerce sites with their enterprise resource planning — a key component to successfully implementing a new retail logistics operation in Asia Pacific,” he commented.