China and B2B2C

Originally published in Panstadia magazine, Q2, 2017

In Beijing in early June to give a presentation entitled “Smarter Buildings, Better Profits” I came across the term “B2B2C”. 

A little research revealed that B2B2C is one of over 1 million acronyms held on the ‘Acronym Finders’ website. Those which comprise both letters and numbers often become a strong form of brand identity, an example being ‘3XN’ with whom HKS recently delivered the new Copenhagen Arena. The founding architect-partners shared the same surname hence 3XN, as intriguing as it is memorable, simply stands for 3 x Nielson

B2B2C is an e-commerce model that combines ‘business to business’ (B2B) and ‘business to consumer’ (B2C) for a complete product or service transaction.” 

It Is a collaborative process that aims to create mutually beneficial service and product delivery channels…for example: Company X pays Company Y for users, leads or sales generated by Company Y’s business or website. Company X then uses Company Y’s channels to locate prospective customers. Company Y provides its customers with new and relevant services, facilitating an increased customer base and earned revenue for sold products and services.

But what on earth has this to do with an article on sport? Well, WSCE stands for World Soccer Convention and Exhibition China and their 2017 event held in early June in Beijing proudly claims to be Asia’s “only B2B2C Convention and Exhibition Covering Soccer Whole Industry Chain” (sic),  

I have attended, and indeed chaired, a good few conferences over the years but never have I seen such a symbiosis between so widely differing industry sectors and this was as evident in the cross section of speakers as it was in the products and services represented in the exhibition areas. Yes, we are used to seeing stands for specialist services and products from natural and artificial turf to lighting, and from stadium seats to IT systems but this was a whole new ball game. 

The B2B2C of this event comprised a coming together of specialists and interest groups that was reflected in talks and panel discussions on subjects as diverse as ‘Strength Diagnostics for Youth Football’ and ‘Neurofeedback: Measuring and Training the (Footballer’s) Brain’ to ‘Cross-over of Real Sports and E-Sports’ and ‘Broadcasting and IP Protection’.

Soccer is being developed at an extraordinary speed and scale in China: it is of course big business, and big business for a very wide range of sectors. But above all it is about transformation and about planning for the long term. Xi Jinping, the current President of China, is a big soccer fan and he is determined that his country should both host and win the FIFA World Cup before 2050. That, in a country that is so new to the game, involves a long-term plan of epic scale.

The players who achieve this goal (as they surely will) have probably yet to be born. Their education and training, together with the equipment and facilities that will be dedicated to that endeavor, will be more sophisticated than anything ever seen or witnessed before. And through that process medical science will benefit enormously, medical technologies will advance, and the public at large will benefit enormously.