As the second largest economy in the world, China is moving toward digital faster than anyone can imagine. The number of online buyers in China alone will reach 356 million in 2014 — surpassing the total US population. In addition, the value of China’s online retail market reached $294 billion in 2013, the first time it’s ever taken over the US market, which is estimated at $262 billion. However, the experience that Chinese consumers are receiving in digital media, either on PC or mobile, is still far behind many mature markets.

At the same time, the Chinese economy is slowing down; annual GDP growth will slow from 10% in 2010 to a probable 7% in 2014. The slower economic growth is a challenge for multinational companies and local enterprises to win customers, be it in tier one or tier six cities. Under such circumstances, we believe that China has entered the “age of the customer,” which Forrester defines as “a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.”

The challenges and opportunities are apparent for China. After a very successful Summit in 2013, I’m excited to announce that we will be holding Forrester’s Summit For Marketing & Strategy Professionals Asia Pacific on March 19, 2014 at the Le Royal Méridien Hotel in Shanghai, China. Naturally, the theme for 2014 is about “Driving Digital Customer Experiences In A Slowing Chinese Economy.”

As the Summit host, I’m pleased to invite you to join our fantastic lineup of Forrester analysts, speakers, and sponsors who will present the latest ideas, trends, and research on customer experience, mobile and digital marketing, and eCommerce relevant to the China market. We are also honored to have on board as guest speakers Alexei Orlov, chief marketing officer of Volkswagen Group China, and Lincoln Barrett, VP of distribution and relationship marketing at InterContinental Hotels Group in Greater China. They will share their stories about winning, serving, and retaining customers in China.

Our objective at the Summit is to empower you, the marketing and strategy professional, with the data, knowledge, and skills to address the challenges inherent in the current market conditions in China.

For more information and to register, please visit our Summit site here. If you have any questions, suggestions, or wish to get involved in the event, please feel free to reach out to me at Stay tuned for more real-time event updates by following the hashtag #ForrForum on Twitter and Weibo.

We hope to see you in Shanghai in March! Huan Ying (welcome)!