Launching clients into China has definitely been a steep learning curve over the past few years. But it is an amazing and insightful process to go through, so we wanted to share some of our knowledge and learnings. Here are our top 6 tips for doing business in China:
1. The online environment is very different
Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and even Dropbox are banned in China (most days). Sometimes permanently, and sometimes randomly. But you can’t rely on these tools in your marketing strategy or website. Think instead about Baidu, YouKu, Weibo and WeChat for your Chinese marketing campaign.
2. Gift giving is popular, but hierarchical
Gift giving is an absolute must in China. It can be anything from a small branded bottle of olive oil, to a tie with your logo on it. There is no preference to whether this should be personal or business related, however it is also important that you have a varied level of gifts depending on the seniority of the people you are giving to. Your gift to the Managing Director must be more prestigious that the one you give to someone at a lower level in the organisation.
3. The buying process can be long, formal and information driven
Depending on your product, the sales process will most likely require input from various people in the organisation you are targeting. And the most important thing to remember, is that you need to be prepared by having all the necessary information and documentation ready to go when you start the conversation including videos, brochures, samples, new ideas and a good website!
4. Relationships and loyalty are valued
Don’t undervalue the importance of relationships. Loyalty and respect are very strong values in the Chinese culture, and making a point of developing strong and honest relationships with your current or potential clients, will be held in high regard.
5. Business card exchanging is very formal
Exchanging of business cards in China isn’t something to be taken lightly. When exchanging cards with a customer, it is important that you show respect by presenting it with two hands, Chinese language side up and studying the business card when you receive it. Never just put it in your pocket, or pass out multiple cards at one time. It’s a very strict procedure, so make sure you study up before you go. It’s also important that your card is dual language, it can almost do damage to the relationship if you only turn up with an English card.
6. A love of New Zealand
New Zealand has been sold as a clean, green, beautiful country and that’s what the Chinese like to see. They love to see natural imagery, and clean New Zealand landscapes, helping to cement the story of quality from New Zealand products.
View a case study here