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Study trip: Exploring Digital China in collaboration with Xebia Group

In March, a C-level digital innovation delegation from the Netherlands under the guidance of Xebia Group and Dr2 Consultants Shanghai visited China in a study trip to meet the country’s most innovative companies in the digital and financial sector. The main goal of this trip was to explore why China is the global frontrunner in digital innovation, and to explore potential partnerships between Chinese and European companies.

Please find below their learnings and experiences from the trip.

During the trip, the delegation – consisting of digital innovators in organizations like KPN, Nationale Nederlanden, the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs, and many others – visited various companies across the cities of Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Shanghai and explored the diversity of the (digital) business across the country. Among others, names as Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba and JD.com shared their stories and experiences with us and we gained insights on how the role of the Chinese culture of leadership and way of working contributes to the success of these Chinese digital giants. The Chinese business culture is characterized with typical elements; the importance of ‘guanxi’ (networks and relationships), age hierarchy, face versus facts, and habits of social gatherings was discussed. On the other hand, these drivers and levers that make Chinese companies successful can also form challenges for them in the future of Digital in Europe.

Furthermore, the Dutch companies were given more information about the current developments of the Chinese market and covered topics including Made in China 2025, Belt and Road Initiative, and the US tariff changes. Also, through the visits the delegation learned about different types of companies (digital ecosystems, startups, etc), consumption trends in China and the upcoming digital landscape.

Dr2 Consultants Shanghai was the organizing party of this study trip and is specialized in providing two-way services: market entry and business developments services for European organizations investing in China, and public affairs and market entry support to Chinese organizations investing in Europe.

Our client Xebia Group is an ICT consultancy company which has offices in Amsterdam and Hilversum (Netherlands), Paris, Delhi, Bangalore and Boston and it employs over 700 people worldwide. In 2016, they generated 77 million EUR in revenue. The company offers services and product solutions addressing digital strategy; agile transformations; DevOps and continuous delivery; big data and data science; cloud infrastructures; agile software development; quality and test automation; and agile software security.