A top executive of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and life sciences multinational Merck Group said that its life science customers in China now order twice the levels ordered by customers globally, and it was poised to harness the Chinese e-commerce fever to boost that performance to even greater levels.
Udit Batra, CEO of the life science business of Merck, also said the way was open for life science industry players in China to tap into global resources, which would eventually improve the development of the health sector in China.
Batra said that the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company was poised to expand its online business in the country, where it has been active since 1933.
"We want to implement our e-commerce site dramatically in China," said Batra, while discussing the importance of the world's largest e-commerce market.
"As a leading science and technology company, digitalization and innovation are crucial for us. In China, what we are doing is to improve the backstage system of the (online) platform to provide our products to our customers more efficiently," he added.
Batra said that Merck would investigate customer behavior and market trends to customize its online business for Chinese clients, to enhance customer excellence in China.
"We also launched our after sales service on WeChat for customers in China in February," he said. "The Wechat platform allows customers in China to have an instant response, know delivery times and have customer support after placing orders," Batra said.
According to Batra, the company's e-commerce operations started in 2012 in China, and now its in-house digitalization team is actively working with local government and partners to ensure e-commerce offerings meet the needs of local customers, such as bringing in the latest products and optimizing distribution and delivery.
Operating the world's leading e-commerce platform in the life science industry, Batra saw a growing number of Merck's 1.5 million life science customers choose to place orders online.
"China is a top market, both in terms of opportunity and in terms of investment," he said.
"In fact, the market growth is a reflection of China's overall health improvement. The aging population and growing life expectancy will need increasing innovative health services to improve people' quality of life, which is also supported by China's 13th Five-Year Plan."
China is expected to have 242 million people aged above 60 by 2020, accounting for 16.9 percent of the population. In addition, the figures are expected to rise to 346 million and 23.8 percent by 2030, before peaking in 2050 at 454 million people aged above 60, accounting for 32.8 percent of China's population, Hu Angang, a scholar from Tsinghua University wrote in a recent report.