• World Biz Magazine

DIANE WANG, FOUNDER, CHAIRPERSON AND CEO OF DHGATE - INTERVIEW



Diane Wang, Founder, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of DHgate.com has been selected by the Judges of World Biz Magazine's Annual Awards to be a recipient of the Top 100 Innovation Leaders Award 2022. This selection follows a stringent process that evaluated over 40,000 nominees to select the exclusive list of 100 winners. Diane Wang appears in the Top 10 of the 100 winners.


 

Diane Wang, an original internet pioneer with over 20 years of experience running online businesses, has thrived through every phase of the digital revolution. Before founding DHgate, Ms. Wang co-founded and served as CEO of Joyo.com, which at the time was the largest B2C (Business-to-Consumer) online marketplace in China and eventually became Amazon China. Prior to Joyo.com, she held positions as an executive for Microsoft and Cisco.


Ms. Wang is also an active civil servant, she was appointed to serve on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in recognition of her expertise and status as a leading advocate for the development of SMEs (Small-Medium-Enterprises) worldwide. Ms. Wang is the co-chair of the ABAC SME Working Group and Co-Chair of the APEC Women Leadership Forum. Ms. Wang is the first Rotating Chairperson of the Entrepreneurs Committee of the China SME Alliance. Ms. Wang also serves as the Chinese Representative to the G20 Business Summit (B20).





"The relationship between the production and consumption in the global trade, as well as the global supply chain, is being reshaped. This is an unprecedented era of cross-border trade for entrepreneurs to participate in the light way, which we call as a “new social commerce era for MSMEs”. This marks a new era for global trade."


Please share with us some insight in to your career to this point.


DW - I am the founder, chairperson and CEO of DHgate, one of the leading B2B cross-border e-commerce platforms in China. I launched the platform in 2004. By connecting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from every corner of the world with high-quality products, DHgate takes a stand for fair world trade and upholds diversity and creativity.

I have leveraged over 30 years of business and digital experience to drive DHgate’s mission to empower people through digitalization. The critical focus of the organization is accelerating digital transformation for MSMEs and partners, empowering women and societies through digital inclusion. As of December 31, 2021, DHgate served more than 46 million registered buyers from 223 countries and regions by connecting them to over 2.4 million sellers in China and other countries, with over 37 million live listings on the platform annually.


Before founding DHgate, I served as the youngest senior executive at Microsoft China and the only female in a top position at Cisco. In 1999, as a member of the first generation of e-commerce entrepreneurs in China, I established Joyo.com, China’s first B2C trading platform.



Please share some insight into how global trade is evolving and how DHgate.com has reacted to this.


DW - The relationship between the production and consumption in the global trade, as well as the global supply chain, is being reshaped. This is an unprecedented era of cross-border trade for entrepreneurs to participate in the light way, which we call as a “new social commerce era for MSMEs”. This marks a new era for global trade.


Back to 2020, DHgate had spotted and prepared well for the industrial shift to decentralization. The rise of social media and emerging new consumer groups are game changers. To spearhead the booming trends of decentralization and Generation Z, DHgate launched MyyShop in the second half of 2020, a one-stop social commerce SaaS platform. MyyShop aims to help MSMEs, especially entry-level merchants and individuals with social influence, run their own online stores as direct sellers and turn their impact into a good business. To date, the number of registered users for MyyShop has surpassed 100,000 in the African market alone. Less than two years after launching, MyyShop is currently boosting more than 2.26 million products and working with more than 110,000 online influencers worldwide. In the first quarter of 2022, the number of active users on MyyShop has achieved year-on-year growth of 76.3%, while the number of paid users on MyyShop has achieved a year-on-year increase of 65.6%.


Our cross-border Influencer marketing service enjoyed fast growth. In 2022 Q1, it has grown by 5 times compared to the same period in 2021. Currently, MyyShop works with more than 50,000 influencers and content creators worldwide.



"To spearhead the booming trends of decentralization and Generation Z, DHgate launched MyyShop in the second half of 2020, a one-stop social commerce SaaS platform. MyyShop aims to help MSMEs, especially entry-level merchants and individuals with social influence, run their own online stores as direct sellers and turn their impact into a good business."




"To date, the number of registered users for MyyShop has surpassed 100,000 in the African market alone. Less than two years after launching, MyyShop is currently boosting more than 2.26 million products and working with more than 110,000 online influencers worldwide. In the first quarter of 2022, the number of active users on MyyShop has achieved year-on-year growth of 76.3%, while the number of paid users on MyyShop has achieved a year-on-year increase of 65.6%."


Kindly share your thoughts on the importance of an innovative mind-set in leadership and some examples of how this thrives at DHgate.


DW - Innovation is a must-have for businesses to survive and thrive. With innovation as our DNA to drive business growth in the past 18 years, DHgate has become a B2B cross-border e-commerce online transaction and service platform, with the largest market share in the US market and the second-largest market share in the world. In the future, innovation will continue to receive great emphasis in the company’s strategy and development.


I believe the digital tool is a perfect solution for MSMEs, who should revisit their digitalization in the organization, digital transformation strategy regularly, proactively identify the challenges and opportunities for internal efficiency improvement and external innovation to keep business thriving.


In my view, E-commerce has gone through PC, mobile and social stages, and the emergence of Generation Z boosts new business models catering to niche markets and unique demands. We see strong growth in this new model, including the growth of the creator economy and social e-commerce around the world. DHgate's strategy is to focus on the continuous growth of the global social commerce sector, the Group’s dual-driving engine of DHgate.com and MyyShop offers both a centralized and decentralized model as well as comprehensive products and services; this is also our unique advantage in the industry,


Complying with technology development at different times, our service has been evolving from a centralized platform to a transaction-integrated, service-integrated platform, to a one stop social commerce SaaS platform. Also, as we are now in a social era, people are less exposed to brick-and-mortar goods and services, in this regard we emphasize that MyyShop is aiming to help monetize social traffic. We have accumulated the advantage of supply chain, and the biggest differentiator compared with the other SaaS platform is that we do not only provide site building services and tools, but we also have the ability to provide a full set of fulfillment services on top of website building, and the support of supply chain in our own ecosystem.


For example, supported by our TikTok Analytics Tool, we help MyyShop users stay on top of the most popular trends and find their own winning products with a few clicks. Compared with other domestic SaaS service providers, our all-round service is more comprehensive than those focusing on site builder or certain services.



"Innovation is a must-have for businesses to survive and thrive. With innovation as our DNA to drive business growth in the past 18 years, DHgate has become a B2B cross-border e-commerce online transaction and service platform, with the largest market share in the US market and the second-largest market share in the world."


Please share with us some of the unique advantages that enables DHgate to stand out in its space globally.


DW - DHgate has a deep understanding of Chinese sellers and overseas buyers in the B2B cross-border e-commerce industry. DHgate relies on its 18-year history of brand credibility, technology strength in AI and big data, and its comprehensive set of services in the cross-border e-commerce industry.


By leveraging the power of e-commerce to transform the cross-border trade, DHgate has empowered both the sellers and the buyers, including helping domestic small and medium-sized enterprises to connect directly with the global market, as well as small and medium-sized overseas retailers to access the high quality and competitive prices products.


By December 31, 2021, with an annual average of more than 37 million online products, DHgate has more than 2.4 million registered suppliers and 46.6 million registered buyers. DHgate boasts more than 100 cross-border logistics routes and more than 10 overseas warehouses. With global offices located in North America, Latin America, Europe, and other areas, DHgate also supports 71 currencies.



"In many emerging and developing economies, legal and cultural restrictions towards female autonomy tend to prevent women from accessing digital tools. Even in the most developed G20 countries, lower female enrolment rates in higher education, deters women from fully realizing the chances offered by digitalization."




"My unchanged belief is women help women. Being one of the first-generation women entrepreneurs in China in the internet era, I have committed in engaging with international organizations such as ABAC, B20, BRICS Women's Business Alliance (WBA) and associated working groups that uphold women economic participation, promoting gender equality and inclusion, and many more for years."


Share with us the current obstacles to women empowerment in emerging markets and DHgate's role in helping to overcome them.


DW - Digitalization offers a lot of opportunities for women empowerment, and for a more equal participation in labor markets, financial markets, and entrepreneurship. In fact, entrepreneurship is often the only alternative for labor force participation for women in the emerging markets.

However, current gender inequalities may prevent women from fully benefiting from these opportunities. In many emerging and developing economies, legal and cultural restrictions towards female autonomy tend to prevent women from accessing digital tools. Even in the most developed G20 countries, lower female enrolment rates in higher education, deters women from fully realizing the chances offered by digitalization.


An APEC Women Digital Usage Survey conducted last year shows, out of a total of a 500 senior manager from Women MSMEs across 21 APEC member economies, 63% of female respondents referred to a “lack of professional digital skills” and more than 50% expressed a strong need for training in digital tools.


Not to mention, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified a fundamental weakness of women MSMEs in their digital capabilities. In the developing markets, they are struggling with digital migration and are unable to adapt quickly because they lack the necessary technology.


Working in the digital trade business for decades, we observed the rising social commerce opportunities, especially for women. To empower more people with knowledge and skills to upscale digital capabilities, DHgate launched the Cross-Border E-commerce Training program called APEC CBET in 2014. It is a comprehensive capacity-building program, that aims to empower local MSMEs to go global through digital platforms like cross-border e-commerce. It offers e-learning courses with the most practical and hands-on knowledge, skills, and entrepreneurial guidance through live broadcasting, to enable underprivileged women to have the entrepreneurial ability of social e-commerce.


I’d like to share the case of Ms. Miriam Febechukwu, a Nigerian lady who quit her job due to workplace discrimination. She attended our APEC CBET and MyyShop training program last year, which provided her with much easier access to cross-border e-commerce. MyyShop enabled her to start online business in a much lighter way, make it easier for her from product selection to order fulfillment. Her baby and maternal product sales are reaching US$50,000 only six months after she started the business. And she has no doubt that the sales on MyyShop will reach US $1 million in 2022.


The project has successfully trained hundreds of thousands of MSMEs, women entrepreneurs, and policymakers across over 50 economies in the past 7 years; only in the past year, we have successfully trained 100,000 MSMEs. And the project has been recognized and endorsed by the leaders of UN, APEC, and G20 countries.


Last year, 756 female entrepreneurs from all over the world, mainly from Africa, America, Asia and Europe took part in the competition. The story of Miriam Febechukwu is very inspiring. Coming from Nigeria, she is the champion of last year’s competition. Due to the inequity she faced in the workplace, she quit her job despite her medical background and then leveraged the power of e-commerce to start her own business. Now she has made a difference in the e-commerce world by making a living from the e-commerce business and helping other women to succeed in this field.


My unchanged belief is women help women. Being one of the first-generation women entrepreneurs in China in the internet era, I have committed in engaging with international organizations such as ABAC, B20, BRICS Women's Business Alliance (WBA) and associated working groups that uphold women economic participation, promoting gender equality and inclusion, and many more for years.


Our goal is to connect the dots across different organizations, coordinate efforts and maximize resources. More importantly, increase visibility to get women's voices heard.


I also request my team to provide more chances for women leaders to show their talents and demonstrate their unique strengths in the world. We have worked with the APEC Business Advisory Council and APEC Women Connect to launch Her Power Entrepreneurship Competition, which works as a platform to unlock new thinking for business women, inspire them by leveraging digital tools and give them a chance to show their presence and visibility in the world of business.


I advocate an inclusive, empowering culture in the company and the company policies are designed to create equal work environment for male and female employees, which is quite important to the continuous development of the company. At DHgate, women are granted fair opportunities and enjoy same rights and benefits as men in terms of recruitment, promotion, talent development and other areas. Currently, the proportion of women employees reached 55.72% in 2020, and the share of female leaders has risen to 40.79%. In addition, women can enjoy other benefits, like at least 128 days of full-pay maternity leave, baby care rooms for new moms and so on.





"In the new stage, we are exploring new possibilities in the cross-border e-commerce industry driven by social media. Combining DHgate and MyyShop, we are further expanding our businesses and developing decentralization products. In the era of social commerce for micro-traders, we aim to empower all the participants in every step in the cross-border e-commerce business."
"In my eyes, a good leader should have the capability to help others succeed in the market. As founder, chairperson and CEO of DHgate, I always work with my management team to come up with the company’s strategy and future vision, so that our employees can have a clearer direction for future development. In addition, we will also give them the resources, training and support they need to accomplish their business goals."


What changes can you see coming up and how will DHgate react to them?


DW - According to Accenture, the growth rate of global social commerce will be triple that of traditional e-commerce in 2025, reaching the US $1.2 trillion, accounting for 62% of global e-commerce spending.


As the first generation in the mobile internet era, Generation Z are dominating the voices in social media, leading the popular culture and greatly influencing the consumption. Their strong and high-frequency willingness to consume is leading the global consumption trend and bringing great changes to the global trade.


DHgate has always been paying attention to the consumption power of Generation Z and the continuous impact caused by the pandemic. We aim to accelerate the digital transformation of traditional global trade.


In the new stage, we are exploring new possibilities in the cross-border e-commerce industry driven by social media. Combining DHgate and MyyShop, we are further expanding our businesses and developing decentralization products. In the era of social commerce for micro-traders, we aim to empower all the participants in every step in the cross-border e-commerce business.



What makes a good leader?


DW - In my eyes, a good leader should have the capability to help others succeed in the market. As founder, chairperson and CEO of DHgate, I always work with my management team to come up with the company’s strategy and future vision, so that our employees can have a clearer direction for future development. In addition, we will also give them the resources, training and support they need to accomplish their business goals.


As the leader in the cross-border e-commerce industry, DHgate is adhering to the spirit that helping others succeed will lead us to success. This has been our approach from Day 1 when the company was established. In the de-centralized era, DHgate is willing to join hands with the new generation to build up a new era of global trade.


Interview End.


 


About DHgate


Founded in 2004, DHgate is a B2B cross-border e-commerce online transaction and service platform headquartered in China, with branch offices in North America, Latin America, Europe, and other places. It is also a global one-stop trade and service platform for small and medium retailers, which is the largest platform in the US market.


DHgate focuses on the small B2B sector, providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the cross-border e-commerce industry with full services. Such services, including store operation, traffic marketing, warehousing and logistics, payment and finance, customer service, risk control, customs inspection and remittance, and business training, empower Chinese manufacturers to connect with the global market.


DHgate has established a competitive and unique advantage in four areas that aren't easy to replicate, including branding, technology, operation, and users. As of the end of 2021, we serve more than 46 million registered buyers from 223 countries and regions by connecting them to over 2.4 million suppliers in China and other countries, with over 37 million live listings on the platform. It has more than 100 international logistics routes and over 10 overseas warehouses.


DHgate is one of the third-party e-commerce platforms for China’s foreign trade recommended by the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China. DHgate hosts the national engineering laboratory for cross-border e-commerce transaction technology, supported by the National Development and Reform Commission China. The company is the pilot company of e-commerce transaction risk control and prevention, endorsed by the Ministry of Science and Technology China. Further, it is the key enterprise of the national e-commerce index recommended by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology China, promoting as a pilot company by the Ministry’s E-commerce Institution Management Certification Center.


In 2020, DHgate launched a new cross-border e-commerce SaaS platform – MyyShop, a new decentralized ecological strategy.


Find out more at DHgate.com