The growth of the technological level of Chinese industrial production will require skills and knowledge in the short term and will open important niches in mechanical components. Many U.S companies in high-tech sectors – such as nanotechnology, synthetic materials, biotechnology, software, and telecommunications – are now looking to China as a potential source of technological innovation.
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The growth target by 2020, period of application of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, is 6.5%, linked to the goal of doubling GDP per capita by 2020 at the end of the decade compared to 2010 levels but before diving into the market, a foreign company must know some essential elements of the Chinese market in order to win through its competitors.
Use their language
Establish a company in which the Chinese language is present both inside and outside the company, then from the company to the consumer, makes this is well seen from the beginning. Cram some business Chinese phrases or at least a proper introduction before venturing further. Not only is it common courtesy to speak a little during initial greetings but aim to impress and build a foundation for a good, trusting relationship. Anything more will be a bonus and will ensure no one can take advantage of you during meetings where some finer details might be discussed between Chinese business partners.
Build relationships by understanding Chinese culture
Don’t underestimate the power of 关系 Guanxi (relationship) between you, your customers, and business partners. It comes from Confucianism, and the philosophy that one should associate one’s self with others in a hierarchical way, to maintain social order. The foundation of “关系 (guānxi) Guanxi” is trust, reciprocity and following through on mutual obligations. In its most basic form, Guanxi is used to describe the simple connection between two people, the connection that you use to perform a favor for that person, or for them to perform a favor for you. It’s essentially your “standing” with another person. Guanxi also addresses that network of contacts you have to call upon when you really need something
Understand Chinese consumer behavior
In the past three decades, Chinese consumers’ shopping habits have changed dramatically as incomes have risen and new products and concepts have entered the China market. Consumer habits continue to evolve today, and examining generations of consumers can reveal certain shopping trends. Planet Retail has found that the older generation generally maintains “traditional” spending habits, middle-aged Chinese oscillate between tradition and new trends, and the younger generation is becoming more Westernized and quality conscious.
Generally, Chinese consumers develop shopping habits in their youth and keep these habits through adulthood. Though increased wealth can change some preferences, such as beverage and snack food preferences, most Chinese consumers’ habits are identified by their objective living conditions and limited earnings. The current Chinese consumer population can be separated into several groups with distinguishing characteristics.
It is essential to know Chinese marketing and tools
Go online in China and you’ll find an internet that looks very different than the one you’d see in most other countries. The mainstays of the Web — Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc. — are either unavailable or on the periphery, hindered in large part by a government that’s made censorship and surveillance the norm. A foreigner company needs to know which tools to use in order to reach Chinese consumers, who are known to be very techy.
Baidu is the King in China
Baidu’s search engine is the most popular site in the country, and it operates several tangential services, including tools for maps and cloud storage. It’s working on self-driving cars, echoing Google’s efforts with Waymo, and ramping up its AI efforts as well.
There’s an entirely new Internet inside WeChat
Tencent is best known for its array of influential messaging and social media platforms. The most notable of those is WeChat, which, with nearly 1 billion monthly users, is China’s biggest social service. WeChat has no real peer in the West. This app is a mix of Facebook (the app), iMessage, Google News, Venmo, and Slack, but everything is rolled into one. Wechat can also act as a newsletter for your audience. Many Chinese do not regularly check their email accounts, however, they frequently read their Wechat messages. In fact, 70% of the Chinese rely on using Wechat in work over email to communicate with clients, suppliers, and colleagues, organize work and read professional information about their work on Wechat when they have time.
Twitter in China is Sina Weibo
Owned by media giant Sina and Alibaba, the site is more of a cross between Facebook and Twitter than a full-on clone of the latter, but it still lets users write pithy “microblogs” and follow various celebrities. And unlike Twitter, it’s growing rapidly.
Forget Amazon or eBay, Chinese e-Commerce platforms are different
Alibaba‘s offerings expand well beyond e-commerce: its Alipay payment app, for one, is enormous. Still, the company is primarily bolstered by its range of online shopping sites. Those include Tmall.com, the country’s biggest consumer retail site, and Taobao, which is like a Chinese eBay. And that’s not to mention its massive cloud business, another area where Amazon is dominant in the US. Whereas Alibaba focuses on operating a marketplace where merchants can connect and sell to buyers, JD.com runs a more controlled shop, selling and shipping name-brand goods to consumers directly. Like Amazon, it’s also investing in drone delivery.
Do not underestimate the power of KOLs
A KOL, also known as an “influencer”, is defined as someone who not only has considerable influence over others in their purchasing decisions but is also able to draw attention and create awareness to the products and services. In other words, KOLs have significant persuasive power. Today, KOLs are not necessarily academics or people who talk at conferences. They could be bloggers, net idols, professionals or “gurus” in their selected field, or just a normal everyday social media user whose voice and expertise are being shared and recognized on the internet. In other words, they are the “brand ambassadors” for the online community. Many of them actively engage with the target audience via social media channels by posting text, images or videos and have a high degree of public trust and credibility.
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