Bringing your Product to China; 5 Crucial First Steps

by | January 19, 2015

Bringing your Product to China; 5 Crucial First Steps

by | January 19, 2015

Over the past decade China became a land of opportunities. With a declining world market the growth figures of the Chinese market where highly interesting for western organizations.  Commonly people spoke of 1.3 billion consumers, high growing cities and an increasingly demanding middle class.

Internationalization became easier overtime. Although having downsides, the European Union made crossing borders simple. This changed a lot about the mindset of companies towards expanding business overseas. Market entry studies cover the basics only and people are not inclined to hire external help in order to uncover potential. However expanding to China is not that easy. 80% of all companies who try fail within the first three years.

The difference between expanding towards Europe and expanding towards China becomes visible when applying for a visa. The paperwork needed to arrange this is the first indication of a never-ending paper trail custom when doing business in China. However before even going to China for the very first time, the first crucial step should already be finished.

Step 1
Your intellectual property (IP) should be registered in China before you bring your product to China. Registering your IP in China is quite easily done but starting this too late gets you in a lot of trouble. Our advice is always to do so even before having an interest in doing business in China. Registration of IP in China works under the first come, first serve principle. It is a task that can be done from your home country.

Step 2
The next important step is to make sure you understand the basics of the Chinese culture. It will help you to reach your goals easier and faster. There are fantastic books which entail great lessons about China. Henry Kissinger’s book, About China, is a great example. However it is highly recommendable to start with a professional training.

Step 3
Another important step is a basic start for any enterprise in any country. You have to create an overview of the market in all its detail. For a market research there are different important questions that need answering. Some examples of crucial questions are;

  • Are you allowed to enter the Chinese market?
  • What are the import rules and regulations for your product in the Chinese market?
  • Who are the stakeholders in your market?
  • Which region fits your product best?
  • What is your market potential?

Step 4
Communication is very important to sell your product, which brings us to the next step. This is a rule in any country around the world. However due to the differences between China and the west you have to look carefully at all your marketing material. A simple example of such differences is color perception. In China the color red is positive. On a stock exchange you will see positive figures displayed in red, which is totally opposite of the West. Make sure marketing material is carefully adapted to the Chinese market.

With a market research in hand providing you with an overview of all your potential partners, clients and/or distributors, the next step is made simple. In China it is crucial that you visit these parties in real life. Plan meetings and visit these stakeholders with a good guide and interpreter. Without such help these visits can become a big failure.

Step 5
Finally it is important to be patient. Do not communicate too much through emails; keep visiting China until you become successful. Becoming successful in China can take up to 3 years. This requires faith in your plan, money in your wallet and a listing ear to people who have successfully gone before you. If you have questions about any of the above steps, please do not hesitate to contact us. Some of these steps are services we offer, with others we can point you in the right direction.