MFE Forum Helps Enterprises Seize Opportunities Through the Use of ‘Big Data’ Analytics

Mr Li Ning shares some of his experiences regarding making use of “big data” for business purposes

The “Forum on Chain and Franchise Business Opportunities of International Brands” was one of the key activities held during the first day of the 2017 Macao Franchise Expo (2017MFE). The event took place this afternoon (28 July) in the Naples Room at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. Participants exchanged views on the use of “big data” analytics to generate new business opportunities, promote resource sharing and improve franchisee profits.

The Forum organisers invited Mr Li Ning, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Li-Ning sport goods brand, to deliver a keynote speech at the event. Mr Li – nicknamed the “Prince of Gymnastics” – is a “Conference Ambassador” of Macao.

Around 180 people attended the event. In addition, the Forum was for the first time broadcast live on a social media platform to allow more people to have access to its high-quality contents, namely in Mainland China and particularly in Southern China. The broadcast attracted around 70,000 viewers.

The Forum organisers invited senior executives and IT experts linked to retail chain operations, food and beverage and other service industries to attend the event. Guests came from Brazil, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao and Singapore.

Mr Albert Kong, Committee Member of the Franchising and Licensing Association (Singapore) and Chief Executive Officer of Asiawide Franchise Consultants Ltd., was the moderator of a panel featured in the Forum. Panel members included: Mr Kyo Ito, Chairman of the Franchise Committee of the Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Management Consultants Association - Tokyo Branch; Mr Guilherme Alf, Public Relations and Publicity Managing Director of China Brasil Soccer; Mr Dicgo Chan, Managing Director of Azona Enterprises Ltd. and Mr Frankie Ho, sole agent of Baidu International in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Participants discussed how to use “big data” analytics to promote franchising, and how franchisers could use “big data” to implement targeted marketing strategies to enhance performance and effective customer relationship management, in order to achieve a mutually beneficial situation both for the firms and clients.

The President of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), Jackson Chang, said in a speech that consumption patterns – both domestically and globally – where undergoing significant changes. This, he said, had generated new business opportunities for retail, food and beverage and other service industries. In order to grasp those opportunities, the service industry should make use of “big data” analytics to promote the organisation of regions and become international, as well as generate fresh business opportunities, he said. President Chang stated IPIM would continue to promote the strengthening of exchanges between the business communities of Mainland China and Macao in order to advance business development under the new concepts related to “big data”.

During his keynote speech at the Forum, Mr Li noted his firm had been established almost 30 years ago. He said during that period there were many market changes, including Mainland China going from there being a scarcity of several goods to a situation of surpluses. Mr Li said firms should use sample data relevant to their specific business to help in the decision-making process, and should also strategically conduct market analyses to adjust their respective business plans. He said that his firm had been able to tap into new business opportunities and develop new products by analysing market trends, namely by looking at several statistics and the rate of participation during the past five years for different sports across various Chinese cities.

Mr Li noted that Macao’s young entrepreneurs should be aware that success in business does not come easy – it is full of hardship. He advised young entrepreneurs to stick to ideas that are interesting and promising, and to always keep learning throughout their journey as businesspeople. Mr Li said becoming an entrepreneur was something positive and worth pursuing.

In addition, Mr Li said Macao still had a lot of room for growth. He added that China now was an important player in global development, and that it was very important to keep pace with the world. In order to achieve that, Macao should make use of its competitive advantages in several areas, Mr Li said, noting the city had conditions to promote further expansion of its convention and exhibition industry. As a "Conference Ambassador” of Macao, Mr Li pledged to co-operate with the Macao SAR Government to achieve that goal.

People attending the Forum noted thatfranchisees were facing increased competition. To achieve success, franchisees should listen to the needs of customers and improve service quality, it was mentioned. "Big data" analytics was pointed out as a way for firms to gather accurate information on their customer base, in order to develop new products and to learn more about service quality at a regional level. While franchiser companies can make full use of "big data" to find business opportunities, franchisees can also use such data to develop further, it was said. A growing number of experts and entrepreneurs believe the use of “big data” for business purposes will certainly become more important in the future.

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