After February 5th 2019, it is official start of Year of Pig according to Chinese Lunar calendar. Pig year is known as a lucky year with prosperous growth. So to all embarking on China venture, may you be blessed with prosperity and success in the year ahead.
Since Open Door Policy initiated by Deng Xiao Peng in 1978, China market has attracted billions of companies to set up their business in China. It is a turning point for China economic development that makes China nowadays become “World’s Factory”. In order to upgrade Chinese industry, Made in China 2025 is issued by Li Keqiang in 2015 with the focus of high-tech fields. Finland, a knowledge-based economy stands strongly in this battle. Further to these, Chinese investments are clinching the stakes in global high-end brands.
China market is not out of reach any more for Finnish business, but becomes land of prosperity and growth. However, an old saying perfectly describes China market “everything is possible but nothing is easy”. From my past 14 years of experience of working with Finnish companies entering China market, here are some most valuable lessons to save you from mistake and seek the chance of success.
1. Find the right partner.
Nobody disagrees that how important a good local partner means to a business in a foreign country. Having a Chinese partner will help you to tackle many local issues, such as language differences, lack of access to a business network and the local regulations and rules, etc. However, right partner can even be generated from home country with successful experience in China market and well established local network and contacts. It saves your costs and energy to communicate your needs and requirements with the partners from home country.
2. Make your commitment.
Internationalization is never an easy course. If you make up your mind of exploring China market, please be prepared for enough resources to back you up along the journey. China market is very competitive and changing very fast so you can’t expect to win overnight.
3. Adapt to localization.
Localize your product. While entering China market, you need to rediscover the needs of your customers even your product is successful internationally. China is big and geographic difference can make huge impact of people’s mindset and customs. Your product shall be flexible enough to meet the variety of needs. Hire the local, not only the operational level but the management team. Nowadays, you can find extremely bright people in China with accumulated experience and established business network that can bring tremendous value to your profit and continuous growth in China.
There is one important issue for your kind attention: Learn how to use WeChat. Digitalization is changing Chinese life style and working habit. WeChat is not a social media but also an effective marketing and business communication tool. Lots of business meetings are conducted via WeChat as deals closed. Please just simply create an account and have fun!
Kristal Li, Senior Advisor and Business Development Director, FinChi, Business Finland Oy. Business Development professional with 14 years of hands-on experience of promoting companies and driving key marketing activities from export and investment perspectives, both in Finland and China.