Past Meetup

Discuss China's eCommerce and online consumer behavior

This Meetup is past

50 people went

LOHAS space

50 Yongjia Road · Shanghai

How to find us

LOHAS space on Yongjia Road, near Shanxi Road South, close to Jiashan Market

Location image of event venue


As China shifts to a consumption-driven economy, eCommerce is playing a crucial role by allowing consumers to buy faster and more conveniently. eCommerce is also supporting new kinds of consumption, such as the online sale of people to wait in lines, to buy things abroad for you, or be your fake girlfriend or boyfriend to take home to meet the parents. At our seventh meetup of the Shanghai Forum, we will learn about how eCommerce is changing China, and what opportunities and challenges there are for businesses and individuals.

This is also a special meetup because it marks the first time a guest speaker will present the main topic. In the past, as the meetup organizer, I have spoken about a number of themes from my books. This time, I am pleased to welcome a friend and former classmate, T.R. Harrington, to lead our main discussion. T.R. is an expert in eCommerce and search engine marketing in and outside China, and he runs his own successful business, Darwin Marketing (, here in Shanghai.

I will give a brief introduction to the topic from my book and then invite T.R. to talk in more detail on one or more related topics of his choosing. I hope that we may cover some of the following, depending interest from the audience:

• China's eCommerce economy (how large is the sector, its importance to China's economic growth etc)

• Case studies (Taobao, Tmall, 1haodian etc)

• New technology (e.g. integration with new platforms such as WeChat or weibo)

• E-payment models

• Consumer behavior

• Success factors

Seating is limited and time is short, so please RSVP today. There will be a 50 RMB venue charge, which includes one drink.

About the speaker:

Mr. Harrington has been at the forefront of interactive marketing and information technology since 1995 in Silicon Valley and since 2001 in China.

Select client credits include work for leading Chinese brands China Mobile, TenCent and Alibaba in addition to his work for leading global brands such as Apple, Nokia, Chanel, L’Oreal, P&G, Dell, Citibank, and eBay just to name a few.

Prior to founding (2005-) Darwin Marketing, a Shanghai based digital search and social marketing company, Mr. Harrington previously held a number of marketing management positions at USWeb/CKS, and Bank of America during the mid to late nineties.

His expertise has been sought by or featured in Harvard Business Review (China), Fortune Magazine, Reuters, Associated Press, Search Engine Strategies, AdTech and numerous private equity / hedge funds. T.R. holds an MBA from the Darden School at University of Virginia, the exchange program at the CEIBS and a BA from Boston College.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the format for the event?

Format of the discussion will be a brief talk by the moderator, then guest speaker, and followed by discussions in small groups and then an open forum for everyone to participate via Q&A.

Is there any charge for this meetup?

Yes, there is a 50 RMB cash charge per person. This includes one drink from the venue's menu and some shared snacks or sweets. Other items are purchased off the menu if desired.

What will we be doing?

The main activity of the meeting will be having a discussion on each topic.

What will it be like?

We will start with getting to know each other networking-style, reviewing the agenda and adding any topics the members want to discuss, then the moderator will start the discussion topics.

Will it be an activity? A discussion? A presentation?

This meetup will mostly be in the form of a discussion.

What's an interesting issue we'll discuss?

Each month a new theme will be discussed. For example, past themes have included China's stock markets, real estate, GDP and economic indicators such as retail spending, trade and inflation.

Do members need to bring anything?

You might consider eating before the meetup since no dinner will be served during the discussion, but please bring your admission fee, cash only. Otherwise, just bring some business cards and a notebook if desired, that's all that should be needed.

Who should come? Are newcomers welcome?

Since this is a new club, all are welcome, but an interest in China's economy and business environment is a must.

Who shouldn't come?

Again, it is a new club, so all are welcome, but we should all desire to present our ideas and discuss intelligently with others.

What should a newcomer expect?

Expect the unexpected. Just kidding. I think this club has an interesting potential because so many people I meet in Shanghai and elsewhere in China are passionate about economic issues. However, since it is a new club, there is no set format yet and expectations should be realistic.

How will members benefit from coming to your Meetup?

Businesspeople, investors, and those with an interest in China's economy and business environment all can benefit by hearing others' perspectives, learning about China's economic and business issues more deeply, and presenting ideas and theories to a group of intelligent individuals.

How long will the Meetup be?

About an hour long once discussion has begun. Generally before and after networking will last 15 minutes each, so total time commitment is about 1.5 hours. There will be an optional late meal for interested members after the main discussion.

Is it okay to arrive late?

We are going to start at 7:30 and the meetup has been scheduled at that time to allow people to finish work and get to the venue, which is in central Shanghai. Based on RSVPs, we will start officially when at least half of the attendees have arrived or punctually at 7:30, whichever is earlier. Please try to get there before 7:30 p.m. for networking and to reserve a seat. The organizer will be there from 6:30.

Who is the organizer?

Jason Inch started this meetup at the end of 2012 to create an interesting networking event focused around China's economy and related topics. Jason is an author of two China books, a businessperson running two companies, and a professor in one of Shanghai's MBA programmmes, where he teaches about China's economy.

Can we discuss [...] ? I don't agree with this topic.... Why don't we talk about [...]?

Each month, the topic for discussion is decided by the group at the previous meeting or by the moderator based on the feedback surveys. If you would like to discuss a certain topic, please suggest it at the end of the meeting or in the feedback surveys. We will not repeat a topic previously discussed until the next calendar year. Please check the previous event descriptions to see what has been discussed at previous meetings.

Where is the meetup held?

LOHAS space on Yongjia Road #50, near Shanxi Road South, is our regular meeting location. You can get here by subway (go to either Shanxi Road South Station or Jiashan Road Station), bus or car.

Click here ( for detailed instructions on how to get to LOHAS space.

UPDATE: Due to positive response, we are going to use the main coffee shop again rather than a meeting room, so I have increased the RSVPs to 45 people.