You may be thinking about doing business in China. But you don’t know the language, possess a limited understanding of the culture, economy and politics, have minimal knowledge of potential competitors or partners, and have little idea whether your product or service is even wanted.
If any of these situations apply, how can you get the information you need to succeed in that market?
Secondary sources about markets and companies, or government census data are more difficult for foreigners to access in China. And even if found, much data may not be reliable nor properly collected.
It should be clear that to obtain more accurate and up to date information, it is quite important to find a market research firm in China that has a physical presence there (preferably in regions of interest to you). Such a company should have several years of experience, a multilingual and multicultural staff, knowledge about your industry, good references and reasonable pricing.
Entering a new market is hard enough, but entering a new country with a very old history and culture can be daunting.
Here are a few hints that may help you to successfully enter the Chinese market.
The meaning of many product features may be quite different, and even offensive in China. It is important to understand that an awkward translation of a brand name or advertising slogan can result in rejection or lost sales. Likewise, the improper use of colors, images, and even numbers associated with a product can spell success or failure.
Concepts of family, respect for the elderly, trust, dependability and other aspects of a relationship have an impact on how business is conducted and how goods and services may be perceived.
Legal constraints may impact the sale and use of some products, both for consumers as well as in the B2B market.
There are also rules and regulations that impact logistics and distribution into, out of, and within China. Having a local presence and networking with the proper officials is a necessity to conduct business there.
- Most significantly, Eastern and Western views may be radically different and create unforeseen problems if not identified early with the use of a market research or consulting firm familiar with all of these issues.
- If not already evident, it makes good sense to hire an interpreter that is fluent in the local dialect. The last thing you want to do is draw an incorrect conclusion based on a miscommunication of words or gestures.