China is a special challenge for every Western business, with not only the obvious language obstacles but also distinct cultural and political issues to overcome. 48% of foreign businesses fail in China within two years of entering into the market. How can it be possible? Thanks to this blog you’ll know more about Chinese market expectations in order to implement the right marketing strategies to be successful over there!
Understand your market and be aware of the differences you’ll be facing
The language: Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. In fact, there isn’t just one single language like how it is in English, but many different dialects or versions. Also Chinese uses symbols to write and many English phonemes don’t exist in Chinese. The tone isn’t the same either which makes this language a complex one to learn.
Chinese Consumer Behaviour: Be aware! Consumption is constantly evolving as China is a huge country. Overall, most Chinese consumers are highly sensitive to price and are inclined to purchase products which are less expensive. They often compare different shops before buying a product. However, some buyers are willing to pay a premium for items that will be seen by others such as clothes, mobile phones or cars.
Chinese Marketing Conception: Generally, the principle of marketing in business-to-business is less recognised in China than in Western countries. Many Chinese businesses consider that marketing only focuses on one of the 4 marketing mix elements: "promotion." In fact, the product is the job of engineers, "price" the job of salesforces, and "place" the job of senior management.
Business relationships: Listen closely to it! Instead of developing a business relationship within a commercial arrangement, businesses in China put forward personal relationships with their clients. Patience and time are the key to building these types of long term relationships which are crucial in the Chinese culture.
Now that you understand Chinese Business Culture, here are some tips to market your business and make your sales skyrocket!
Messages you must communicate
Keep in mind these main aspects: The price, the quality, the local presence, the reliability, the aftersales, and finally you’ll need to show that you understand and meet their needs.
Strategies and means to market to China
- Go to Exhibitions and Conferences and meet your clients! The Chinese people are fond of building true, face-to-face relationships, so it is crucial to be recognised by the market and establish first contact with your clients.
- Use e-mails to reach a larger audience, explaining what your company is specialised in. E-mails are the primary B2B means of communication for any Chinese company.
- Localise your Website. Translation isn’t enough to enter the market, the website needs to be designed according to Chinese needs in order to demonstrate your commitment to the Chinese market.
- Blog and explore Social Media: 92% of Chinese cybercitizens use social media. Many companies use Linkedin or Tianji which is the largest social networking website in China with 17 million users and 500 new users added every month.
- Speak Chinese, even if it’s not perfect! You’ll impress your audience. Chinese people will be more likely to purchase your products or services. This is what Mark Zuckerberg did in 2014 in Beijing when discussing Facebook’s plans in China where the social networking site has been banned.
The attitude to adopt to be part of the Chinese market!
- Be flexible and patient: Chinese habits can change - this is a totally different culture so you need to keep an open mind to fit in the market.
- Avoid exaggeration: It would sound fake to Chinese people. You need to inspire confidence.
- Listen to the market’s need: Never assume that what works for your mature markets will work in China!
- Don’t hide your business origin: Western products are seen as high standards goods.
Although Chinese cultural differences continue to pose challenges to foreign enterprises, there is no reason why your business wouldn’t be a success story if you deeply understand Chinese market culture and needs. Finally, speaking Chinese and using a localisation strategy will demonstrate your interest towards China. This combination will make your business respected and successful!
Written by Anais Laget
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