Marketing Research in China


Marketing research is almost mandatory before launching business activities abroad.

Before selling its products in China, a company has to gather as many data and information as possible on the market, expectations of Chinese consumers, distribution channels, or the competitive environment.


Aim of a marketing research:

identifying useful information about your market in China and analyze to support your business needs.


market research in china



Why companies need Marketing Research ?


Marketing Research are not always taken seriously, especially since “Steve Jobs” the guru of marketing ironically made the following statement:  “Marketing Research have no meaning as the customer never knows what he wants.”

It is true that some people in this world have, indeed,  enough  influence and financial resources to create trends. But this is not the case of everybody. (via Market China)

Many  people are convinced that their product is brand-new in China, is perfectly suited to the Chinese market and will suffer no competitors.  
What I think: It is important before tackling a market as “difficult” as China to understand the environment and to identify the real potential customers. In China buying habits and consumer needs are quite different from what we know in the West.

Most of the time a marketing research brief is required.





Steps in processing a Marketing Research


1 / Identify the main  issues for the company: the context, its purpose, its environment…

2 / Set up the information needed by the company. A marketing study  is mostly seeking information.

3 / The equation relevant information / times / cost. Every company has goals and constraints of its own. There is no point in  proposing extensive and expensive studies to a small company.

4 / Data research. The Chinese internet is a useful tool to gather information at the beginning. But finding reliable information in the Chinese internet remains a challenge. The variety of datas will necessitate a processing methodology.

5 / Provide guidelines, monitor and control the execution of the study.

6 / Analyze, interpret and use the results: the information collected have to be analyzed to achieve a synthesis. it is important to find the good people who will be able to give a good Market Analyse

7 / Recommendations: From this summary, marketers will make recommendations on which marketing strategy the company should adopt:

  • Which positioning ?
  • Which distribution channel ?
  • How to communicate ?
  • which pricing strategy ?


What kind of market research for China ?

Do you have to choose Desk Study, Qualitative study or quantitative study ?

Literature review is a preliminary study on newspapers, Internet or government sources.

Quantitative studies  are difficult to implement in China as it is difficult to gather real insight. Many companies offer this kind of service but the bias is so strong that … the results are often distorted. Last but not least when it comes to the budget it’s hard  to cover a part of the Chinese territory without exploding costs ? Opinion polls using the Internet is feasible but it will concern only a slice of the population, a type of consumer and therefore  it won’t be applicable to all sectors.


Qualitative studies  help to identify trends, expert testimony or of a Chinese consumer archetype  that can be used in a qualitative way.

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