Note from Lionel: Below is a post from Jacqui Zhou, who runs our Direct2Dell Chinese blog. She recently published the following post over there. I asked her to publish a translated version since I thought it provided some interesting insight toward the challenges that apply to other parts of Dell's global business. With that, I'll let Jacqui take it from here.
China is a complicated country. Any attempt to describe China with one word is either oversimplifying or inaccurate. You might have heard China overtook the US as the world's largest Internet country. Did you know 80% of its 1.3 billion people are not online yet? Most of these people live in tier 5 and 6 cities and small villages–or "rural China" as the Chinese government calls it.
When the PC market in top tier cities is getting saturated, rural China has become a key focus for companies like Dell. The demand from rural china is widely expected to be the power engine behind future growth in the world's most populous country.
What is it like to do business in rural China?
Many of my foreign friends who have been to Shanghai told me it's just like New York, however rural China is in nowhere close to your suburban neighborhood in New Jersey.
Most Chinese living in rural regions do not own a credit card nor do they trust online payments. Some live in villages where the nearest banks are miles away. They cannot just jump into a car and drive to the destination as many do in the US because they mainly rely on public transportation to get around.
How can we bring technology closer to people living in remote areas in China? How do we enable those people to make payments if they want to buy a Dell computer?
Dell has signed a partnership agreement with Postal Saving Bank of China. Starting today, after placing orders online or over the phone, customers in China can wire payments to Dell for free via 45,000 postal offices around China, the most widely spread business network in China.
Before China opened itself to the outside world in the 1980s and increased investment in banking and commerce, postal office had been the most popular and reliable place to wire money in China. Today, it's still the most trusted and convenient payment method for rural Chinese.
Furthermore, payment through postal office provides the additional benefit in that their services are available during lunch hours, weekends and even holidays. Busy students and employees can now drop by one of China Postal's 45,000 stores during lunch break and pay for their order in a safe, convenient and time-saving way.
Since Dell entered China's market 10 years ago, more and more customers are embracing Dell's convenient and personalized technology. At the same time, we are also innovating the way we do business to adapt to local markets. Dell offers Chinese customers the choice to make payments through local banks in addition to credit card payment. Last year, we launched Alipay, a Chinese version of Paypal, the most popular online third-party payment method in China, to online savvy customers. The partnership with China Postal will take us one step further by bringing the convenience and joy of online shopping to our more traditional customers.
We will continue to innovate in the way we do business in China. No longer will physical barriers limit people's ability to have the latest and greatest products from Dell.