It was in 2006 that the US retailer BestBuy, the famous electronics giant decided to set up in China. At that time, only small shops or slop-built surfaces were present on the market. It is also during this period that the market of counterfeit saw its growth explode in the country. I still remember these shops, usually organized in a market-like place inhigh-rise buildings, represented real fearbecause of its wild aspect.
There was indeed no better opportunity for BestBuy to see its market expand in China. After 5 years of operation, 9 stores have emerged and yet all have since closed.
The lesson that we need to note here is that China is a very different market from what we might think of it. Only one opportunity cannot lead to success, even with a project that has been lucrative elsewhere. One must understand its customer or its customers plural, and adapt its strategy based on them.
Speed is a key factor in China. Growth in the Middle Kingdom is so fast that we can quickly out of fashion; investment in innovation becomes critical for the survival of your business. Each year, new trends appear to taking up the elders, which is called “Out” from the locals. Precisely, unlike many of us, the Chinese are very sensitive to news (especially high-tech) among the young and the very elderly. I bet you Ayi uses Wechat as well as you do.
Even if you are holding a genius concept, there are plenty waitingthere to “borrow” your ideasor to rework them in their ways. So don’t wait, don’t be afraid to be creative and be the one who revolutionizes the market with your ideas, they are just waiting for you.
See in China as one single market
China is vast, ancient and complex. The same goes for its people. They are not a people, but of people. If you are in China for some time, you’ve probably heard about the stereotypes of various large cities of China or its provinces. North people are said to be more direct, honest, sociable, but in another context, sudden or very lazy. As for the southerners, it is said they are quiet, refined, hard workers but stingy and underhanded. And even if the truth is not that simple, these stereotypes is right on one point: China is a complex market that must be analyzed locally, much like the way an European market.
If you are based in Shanghai, be sure that your business model is reviewed if you plan to export it to another Chinese city.
KFC for example, has developed an exclusive product for Guangdong markets by offering Wong Lo Kat tea on its menus. In Beijing’s McDonald’s can be found Beijing duck burger … These ideas seem to diverge from the original concept of these two giants of fast food, and yet their consumers loved them.
In a very dense country in term of population, you will be easily conducted to manage interpersonal conflicts, but one rule is sure, do not make enemies.
The Chinese rely heavily on relational values, even if it means being sometimes hypocritical … The conflict is seen in China as a form of rudeness that is the results of a loss of control. Generally, the Chinese can’t “hate” someone, but only “appreciate less”. Indeed, every person in China can represent an opportunity for another, even your Ayi. Yes I am telling you so. It is precisely through this kind of relationship that the Chinese are building their future.
Everyone is connected, everything is said and everything is known. One enemy might cost you a lot both professionally and personal. I also noticed that, we expatriates in China have getting into that habit too…