China is one of the leading consumer markets in the world, and some reports even consider the Asian giant to be the second-largest. The country boasts a massive population of consumers – across various regions and levels – who have little debt to attend to and a lot of cash to spend. In addition to this fact, many Western businesses have enjoyed great success in the Chinese market. Are you planning on expanding your brand to reach the coasts of China or you simply wish to become a mainstay of the Chinese market? This is very feasible, but you must keep in mind that you will face several logistical and cultural challenges of doing business in China, some of which might define your strategy as you operate within China’s borders. Some of these factors will be discussed in the tips below.
Establish your brand with long-term goals in mind
It is true in any market situation that you have to prove to your customers and consumers that you aren’t just a one-off brand, and you don’t intend to make a few bucks and then disappear into the shadows. This is even more crucial when you are expanding into a market like the Chinese market. One trick for success is to collaborate with those (mostly local) who understand the values and visions of your business idea, and who are invested in your long-term goals. You don’t want to send the wrong signal to your potential consumers, so you need to pay extra attention to every tiny detail, and this will be very possible when you collaborate with those who are ready to stick with your brand for a long time.
Consider the major cultural differences
Most Westerners are aware of the major cultural differences in China such as the Lunar calendar, and these could determine, to a large extent, whether your business would succeed or fail in the country. Colors, for instance, strike a strong impression on the Chinese people; even though white symbolizes purity, it is also a color associated with death. Red, on the other hand, symbolizes good fortune. The Lunar calendar is still held in such high regard in China, and some specific dates on the Chinese lunar calendar holds significance. For instance, the Chinese New Year celebration is a big holiday in the region and it is often celebrated for a full week or even longer.
Narrow down your market
Considering the massive population of China, you might be tempted to target the entire country, but this isn’t a good idea. Instead, choose a specific city or region, and channel your initial efforts into the region. If you are able to maintain a good reputation and achieve a high level of recognition within that city, say Hong Kong, it would propel your brand into those cities you haven’t reached yet. So, it’s always a win-win eventually.
Understand that no company in China is disconnected from politics
In many parts of the world, businesses can operate with minimal interference from the federal, state, or local government. But, this doesn’t really hold in China. In fact, government agencies have their hands in everything. However, it should be noted that local bureaucrats sometimes take prominence over the central Chinese authority. Hence, it is very vital to observe the political landscape of the Chinese region where you intend setting up. In a scenario where you are having difficulty setting up, you should reach out to NH Global Partners. They understand the rudiments of the Chinese market, and have assisted many brands in successfully establishing their businesses.
Hire a skilled translator
More often than not, many entrepreneurs find it hard settling in the Chinese market mainly because of the language barrier. You should hire a skilled translator who can attend various meetings with you. You will need to interact with many locals, hire many local staff, and collaborate with many Chinese citizens, many of whom might not understand your Western dialect.
If you want your business to continually thrive in China after setting it up, then you have to be responsive. For instance, in many Western countries, the consumers would rather stick with a brand they are used to even if there is another brand that sells at a lower price. The Chinese people don’t behave this way, and if you ever get bettered by your competitors in terms of pricing, it could affect your business drastically.
Embrace a direct distribution strategy
Think carefully before adopting a distribution strategy because not all strategies are meant for every business. So, you need to identify the available ones in China that suit your type of business. Distribution options include embracing a joint venture, hiring a sales rep, or partnering with an existing brand within the country.
Adapt your business to the Chinese market
This is actually harder in practice than it sounds. It is very crucial for you to adjust your business conditions to meet the needs of the Chinese market and not the other way round.