The digitalisation strategy of Covestro is opening up new possibilities for doing business in the Asian market.
In order to make the world’s chemicals easily accessible to business customers, Covestro has started a cooperation with Chinese internet giant Alibaba.
As of April 23, the company will offer its high-tech polymer materials in a flagship store on 1688.com, an online platform of Alibaba.
The platform is the biggest online business-to-business marketplace in China.
The Chinese economy shows tremendous progress in innovation and digitalisation over the recent years, to which Covestro is contributing.
Under the link ‘covestrochina.1688.com’, the high-tech material polycarbonate, as well as pre-products for polyurethane foams, coatings and adhesives will become available.
"Digitalisation rapidly changes customer needs and preferences and offers new business opportunities, especially in the fast growing Chinese economy," said Dr Markus Steilemann, Chief Commercial Officer and future CEO of Covestro.
"For us, China plays a more and more important role not only in terms of market size but also with regard to innovation in relevant markets and technologies.
“With the launch of an online store on Alibaba we follow our strategy by innovating our business models in close cooperation with our customers."
The main goal is to offer customers a reliable, official channel with a simple and efficient purchasing experience.
With a maximum quantity order, the flagship store is more tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized customers.
Therefore, transactions will be of relatively small volume.
This will allow Covestro to listen, learn and continuously improve its offering.
"We want to make the customer experience more convenient and efficient.
“Particularly in a market like China, which is at the forefront of digitalisation, we need to be where the customers are and will be.
“1688.com is that place," added Xiaobin Zhong, Head of Commercial Operations for the Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties business of Covestro in the Asia Pacific region.
As a start, Covestro will offer around 50 products on 1688.com.
The second wave of products to launch is already in planning.
The company announced that new forms of online commerce will contribute up to €1bn in accumulated sales until end of 2019.