Ecommerce Foundation

Discover China

The search for innovation

Hello China! ~ 你好中国!
From September 9 to September 14, Shopping Tomorrow and the Ecommerce Foundation organize their 7th Study Trip, under the auspices of This year's Study Trip will guide us through different destinations in China.

We will visit Tech & Marketing Startups, Venture Capitalists, Stores like Alibaba's Hema and Chinese Dragons in Ecommerce, such as Tencent/WeChat and the Alibaba Group.

Sept 8      Departure Schiphol Amsterdam > Hong Kong
Sept 9      Hong Kong Shopping Mall Experience & Welcome Presentation
Sept 10    Visiting JD's Times Square in their Causeway Bay office in Hong Kong
Sept 11    Visiting Tencent in Shenzhen (work in progress)
Sept 12    Shanghai company tour led by Roland Palmer, CEO Alibaba Group Netherlands 
                 Visiting Nike Asia HQ in Shanghai
                 China meets Holland Meet Up Dinner, under the auspices of the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai 
Sept 13    Visiting Alibaba led by Roland Palmer & Bonte Avond in Hangzhou
Sept 14    Company Visits Tmall & Ali Pay in Hangzhou
Sept 14    Flight back to Amsterdam

The program is subject to change.
Participation is for C-level executives working in the retail industry. This study trip is all-inclusive and consists out of the following services:

  • International and local flights 
  • Six nights stay in 4* or 5* hotels
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinners included throughout the entire trip 
  • Special events & valuable networking opportunities

The price for retailers is € 7.950,-  (excluding VAT).
The price for business partners is € 8.950,- (excluding VAT)

The study trip has a maximum of 45 participants, only a few spots left!
For business partners (non-retailers), acceptance under balloting is applicable

Please fill out this from to receive more information about the China Study Trip

  • This trip includes economy class tickets, hotel, transportation costs, events and all meals. 
  • The cancellation conditions of GI Travel / ANVR are applied to the trip.
    Full refund of cancellation is only available with previous notice of 2 months before departure.

  • The SGR and Calamity Fund trips are not applicable on this trip.
  • The technical part of this trip will be provided by GI Travel. For any special requests (business class, earlier / later departure) you can contact GI Travel directly via


Overall the study trips are rated with an average of 8.6 on a scale of 10.
Here are a few participants that have shared their experience. 
Corinne Poort contact

Paul Nijhof
Former CEO Wehkamp

"Inspiring and confronting: taken away in the 'fast lane."

Corinne Poort contact

Marcel Neomagnus
CFO Sundio Group

"Very inspiring. I discovered new tech and business opportunities." 

Corinne Poort contact
Corinne Poort contact

Jan-Peter Cruiming

​"Great program, great city, great companies, great group."

Johan van de Neste
CCO Inshared

"Great experience. I gained new insights, was given practical examples build upon a superb network of frontier innovators." 


On behalve of Magnus, Axel Groothuis joined the study trip to Silicon Valley.
After his visit to Silicon Valley, he has written a blog: 
Ideas having sex
The first thing we learned about Silicon Valley is that there is little room left for new ideas. It’s not about new ideas but rather about innovation: bringing ideas to the next level by sharing and enriching them. A similar way of working is used in the brainstorm method, where participants try to build on ideas of others in the room. This principle of open innovation is what brings Silicon Valley its current success, in combination with the average age of its employees. Did you know that people like Einstein, Pascal and Braille had their main groundbreaking inventions before their thirties? Other characteristics of the companies we have visited are their openness and that a relatively large amount of the workforce consists of weirdos. Thinking big also plays a major role: Google wants to extend people’s lives, which is a broader perspective than just developing new drugs. Disruption is the key buzzword: who thought that the world’s biggest taxi company of today would not own a single taxi? Software is eating assets for lunch!

Hands off my body
Also interesting are the effects of technology on the human body and health. The cell phone is already called the 79th organ, but we also saw examples of nutrition – based on consumer profiles and big data – completely modified to meet the individual’s needs. Additionally, IBM Watson offers a sentiment analysis to adapt the products offered in a web shop to your current mood. 23andMe offers the possibility to have a DNA-analysis executed by sending in a sample of saliva, by which you learn about your ethnic origin and ancestry, matching you with other profiles of possible relatives. 23andMe Participants are then asked to make their profile available –accompanied with a medical questionnaire – for helping research diseases like Parkinson. The idea is to become able to predict the chance of getting a certain disease (based on your DNA profile compared to ‘big data’) and as such start a preventive cure much earlier. As you may understand, it is hard to align regulation around privacy and health insurance with these kinds of rapid developments.

Social innovation
The Singularity University presented an interesting view on the speed of technological development. For decades, technology has been in continuous development, although people always kept desiring for more. In other words: people could keep up with the speed of technological developments. We have now have passed the point at which technological advances faster than people and even companies can cope with. For some, these rapid developments still offers opportunities, but for others this causes “disruptive stress”, or chaos. As soon as robotizing warehouses persists and AI with voice surpasses the quality of human call center agents, this will result in vast unemployment in these work fields. At the same time, the need for humans in IT and data analysts will further grow. In the end, maybe there will not be a huge decrease in available jobs, but rather an increased mismatch between supply and demand on the job market, resulting in a bigger gap between the rich and the poor. This gap was made visible in a striking way by one of the participants of our study tour, by showing both a picture of the line in front of the food bank and a picture of the line in front of the San Francisco Apple store, where people were waiting for the new iPhone 7. The daily news bulletins opened with the latter.

First dents are showing
Three years ago we had also visited “the valley of innovation”, and although much of the power and charm did not change over these years, every now and then we noticed some dents are beginning to show. Things like “we have heard that story before” (for example to the question whether Amazon would come to the Netherlands, or whether they consider Alibaba as a threat). Other examples are about the market being a mix of trendy startups and mature tech Molochs. The number of IT jobs recently broke the record that was set during the internet hype fifteen years ago. In the meanwhile, large IT companies are starting reorganizations and the amount of available capital has decreased. Moreover, San Francisco is losing its creative minds due to the immense cost of living and the daily traffic jams. In the end, these only seem to be relatively small dents in a growing industry that is still going through the roof. And honestly, after a view on San Francisco Bay, you are likely to take these dents for granted.