Entering the Chinese Market
by TAKEFUMI SHONAI
Over the course of years, China has become one of the world's economic powerhouses. With 1.3 billion people in its population margining to staggering 751 million people who use internet on a daily basis, it has become a market of fantasy for many especially those savvy businesses looking to expand their reach.
As E-commerce and consumer affluence progressively pushing forward, the Chinese market is truly a flourishing space where businesses can find their success. But being the largest e-market in the world, it can also be an unforgiving territory that is notoriously difficult to penetrate especially with strict government restrictions, language barriers, growing competition, and changing consumer demands.
Consider your Resources
This is the very first thing that you should consider before anything else. Expanding abroad is a huge investment that might take quite some time to pay off, especially in China since it requires many moving factors which might cost your business a fortune.
After considering all your options, create a thorough business plan with your desired goal and KPIs, a well-structured market research focusing on demographics, social culture, mores, competitors, and consumer behaviors as well as a shortlist of potential local partners, distributors, and business representatives that you can approach in providing guidance and local knowledge to avoid mistakes in the early part of your market entry.
Localize what you intend to sell
The most effective way to truly localize your product is to explore transcreation; the process of culturally adapting and creatively translating your message from its original form to another language without compromising its style, intent, and context.
Many western companies think that simply translating what their brand, business or product/service is all about to another language will be enough to capture their foreign audience. That's a common misconception. By casually translating your message, local consumers might contextually misunderstand what you mean and your message might lose its intended meaning.
Create a strong mobile & online presence in local platforms
Mobile usage, particularly for E-commerce and social media, is continuously conquering the digital landscape of China. With less than 700 million mobile users as of 2017, it is safe to say that including a plan to establish a strong social media presence in your marketing strategy is a must. But before planning on launching marketing campaigns for your business, you should know that unlike the Western market which is dominated by tech giants like Facebook and Google, China has its own set of local players who dominate the entire digital ecosystem.
In China, you can use Baidu for your SEO and search engine marketing, Taobao and TMall for E-commerce, WeChat for social media marketing, and Youko for online video-sharing. By learning how to efficiently utilize these platforms, your business will not only benefit in a big way but it will also give you a better edge over your competitors.
Find a trustworthy legal team
China is a complex market with complex government regulations and volatile legal rulings. The easiest solution to tackle this problem is to find a reliable local team of legal representatives who can handle all your legal needs so you can solely focus on your business.
Keep on Moving Forward
The Chinese economy is fast-paced and continuously moving. Learn how to keep up with the rapid speed of competition, progressively innovate your business model and set your sights open in any big opportunities that may come your way.
Success in entering the Chinese market isn't 100% assured and it may take quite some to pay off. But those who do their research beforehand will certainly do better than those who don't.But before joining China's vast and exciting business arena, here are some of the things you should mindfully consider if you have any aspirations of reaching the Chinese market: