OriginTrail report on market development 2017 — Southeast Asia and China

Important lessons were learned and immense technical and organizational progress was achieved since OriginTrail inception four years ago. Back then little more than higher ideals and audacity was enough for us founders (including Tomaž Levak, CEO and Branimir Rakić, CTO) to start making positive changes in supply chains. Today, OriginTrail project is a global initiative powered by 15.000 + strong community of individuals and companies affiliated to supply chains, NGOs and those excited about blockchain technology and its potential to redefine the way trust is brokered in 50 trillion dollar industry. The purpose of this blogpost is to shed light on activities we conducted in 2017 to catalyze adoption of OriginTrail decentralized protocol for supply chains in the powerhouse of global logistics — Southeast Asia and China.

First off — a brief recap of interesting stats, facts and unlocked achievements:

  • 100.000 km + of business travels (Shanghai 6x, Hong Kong 3x, Singapore 2x, Bangkok 2x, Beijing 1x and Yantai 1x);
  • OriginTrail Protocol presented and showcased at 6 conferences, 3 meet-ups and at a demo day;
  • Admission into Bits x Bites business accelerator in China;
  • Confirmed partnership with Yimishiji commerce for high end foods to enhance transparency and food safety with 700 + suppliers
  • Project office established in Shanghai;
  • Feasibility project with Yimishiji ERP system completed, OriginTrail alpha test network deployed to handle data from selected suppliers (preview available this week);
  • Admission into Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center’s Innovation Pipeline programme (October);
  • Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center Innovation Spark Award (November);
  • Key areas to address in 2018 identified: product safety and authenticity, last mile delivery optimization, data privacy, insurance and international trade finance.

Market entry strategy — from inception to partnerhips

February 2017

Having conducted series of interviews with major companies exporting mainly food items to Chinese market, we identified a vast opportunity to enhance transparency and brand protection by making OriginTrail technology available there. A multidisciplinary team was assembled to do a thorough market research and revamp OriginTrail online presence and demo solutions for the needs of Chinese audiences.

Special thanks goes to Zhuxuezi Zhao (in the middle) — Food Quality and Safety expert for professionalism in helping us understand business landscape in China
Alpha version of the service website — http://origintrail.cn

March/April 2017

To test our initial market assumptions, we took part in Business Roundtables event in the scope of the PMA Fresh Connections: China conference (I described some of the findings from the conference in this blogpost). After talking with representatives of biggest retailers in China such as Walmart, China Vanguard, Alibaba, JD.com to name a few we realized the potential for neutral decentralized protocol capable of managing data from disparate information systems is formidable.

PMA Fresh Connections: China offered a great chance to discuss technological breakthrough in product traceability (more photos from the event at https://www.flickr.com/photos/producemarketing/sets/72157681713394925/page2)

July — September 2017

We feel honored and proud we soon partnered with 米市集 YIMISHIJI company whose management team and founders are very much aligned with the vision our team is pursuing. YIMISHIJI is one of China’s first online farmers markets to bring organic and local produce to families. It stands alone as a farm-to-table e-commerce platform that has engineered food education and transparency into the entire supply chain and customer experience, effectively reshaping the relationship between Chinese consumers and farmers.

Its founder, Matilda Ho is one of the most remarkable technology pioneers in Asia. Recently she gave an inspiring TED talk “The future of food in China” in which she evangelizes that food quality improvement journey is a function of mindful patience in contrast to the rapid growth of production. Listen to her beautiful message

“OriginTrail has had a clear vision from the moment we first met the team: To leverage data collected in food supply chain to create transparency. With the food industry’s dire need for disruptive technology to address food safety and transparency concerns, OriginTrail’s blockchain solution comes at the right time.

What we also appreciate about OriginTrail is its experience with food supply chain data and its solution-focused approach to technology.” Matilda Ho

Implementation of OriginTrail solution in a multi-organizational setting

Implementation of OriginTrail solutions typically begins with an alignment meeting to determine which data sets are required to support a certain use case. It was an absolute joy to witness our team and Yimishiji devs with their CTO Alex Chang in charge to sync pretty quickly on minimum requirements to enable data exchange. Same procedure followed with the Sunrise Harvest company — one of Yimishiji’s suppliers, yet this time without our involvement. This way of deploying OriginTrail in a top-down way allows us to scale more quickly.

OriginTrail user interface preview — Yimishiji/Sunrise Harvest transactions

October/November 2017

Having successfully completed the feasibility project with Yimishiji, OriginTrail was the only blockchain startup among 12 selected projects that were admitted into the first generation of the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center Innovation Pipeline Program. The initiative recognized OriginTrail’s potential for bringing transparency to supply chains, where there is huge untapped potential for increasing efficiencies on a global level.

Furthermore, in the beginning of November The “Food Safety Innovation Spark Award” was presented at a ceremony in Beijing, in front of the large audience of supply chain, logistics and food safety experts. OriginTrail was the only non-Chinese recipient of the award (you may read more about all three winners here)

December 2017

Last month of the last year was arguably one of the most exciting episodes in the evolution of OriginTrail project. While a lot of attention was put on developing new partnerships and participating at domain specific events, for me personally hosting meetups in Singapore and Hong Kong was the most rewarding experience.

“Many organisations have trapped sources of value in hidden data silos. Often referred to as ‘dark data’, when exposed through data analytics, it can provide previously unknown and unexplored business insights. This smart data approach, coupled with technological innovation, is really the new normal for the food industry. It’s not ‘business as usual’, as disruptions driven by big data analytics, AI and automation will drive rapid industry change,” Mr John Keogh, President and Principal Advisor, Shantalla and OriginTrail advisor (more at: https://foodindustry.asia/smart-data-as-a-driver-of-growth-and-innovation-in-the-food-and-fmcg-industry)
Meetups in Singapore and Hong Kong were organized on a very short notice. Still full-house and lots of great energy in both cases.
I enjoyed presenting our work and having conversation with many of you who took your time to attend both meetups and chip in with very much relevant questions. I am grateful and humble to have been given a chance to help build this awesome community. We have achieved a lot, yet this is only the beginning of a great journey. Learn more about our plans in the roadmap and future posts here.
Stay tuned and Trace on!

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