Marketingblatt - Marketing Blog


Is doing business in China as a foreigner difficult?

W4 | W4 / December 28, 2022

Not all markets are a paradise, on the contrary, they all have internal intrigues that make a company's life difficult. And doing business in China... is almost never considered a walk in the park. China is still a challenge due to several factors.

CHALLENGES of doing business in china as a foreigner 

1. Being a foreigner

Even if you have seen something about it on TV, that does not mean you are an expert on China, its culture, or its market. As much as the Chinese population is opening up more and more to Western countries these days, it's also true that you have to adapt to do business in such a big country. In contact with a population that is enormously different in terms of communication, politics, culture and economy, we can easily misunderstand each other. 

It does not work to apply the same rules in a country like China as you do in your company. You need to localize your strategy.

2. Regulatory hurdles in China

Permits, registrations, licenses, bureaucratic processes... Are you feeling dizzy yet? As in any self-respecting country, in China, you need a license that specifies your "line of business" and is issued by the Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.

In China, the rules are constantly changing, but it is almost always the case that many foreigners find the lack of transparency of these bureaucratic and unfair regulations on foreign products exploitative and not easy to understand.

3. Not having a local partner

It is not easy to be reliable and trustworthy as a foreigner in any country. For this reason, you always need a local partner who will not only help you present yourself better to your audience but also help you run a business that does not follow the rules of the market you are familiar with. Of course, it takes time to find a good partner, especially if language and cultural barriers stand in the way, but he will be your bridge to your target audience, he will be, for example, your Chinese sales partner, marketing manager, and so on.

4. Not doing well in Marketing & Sales

With billions of potential Chinese consumers, your company cannot afford to randomly select channels and implement a marketing strategy that may not work for the Asian audience. Nor can you afford to invest money, time, and energy to sell a product or service that may not work for a completely different audience than the European one.

The challenge is to use the right marketing strategy and find the most appropriate channels and, most importantly, know how best to manage them. Many companies also make the mistake of expecting immediate and very quick profits, when in reality profits can only be achieved with a long-term plan. Patience is the key 

Once you get into Chinese digital marketing, you also need to be careful when using one of the most popular strategies at the moment: the KOLs, the leading Chinese influencers in the sales market. Companies often come across a fake KOL, with fake followers and partnerships.

5. Not surviving in the Chinese competitive market

The Chinese market was initially a free-for-all for foreign brands. Chinese consumers have always been fascinated by Western products and Chinese companies had to fight to overcome them. Today, however, the market in China is like a bear cage. The same international brands are having a hard time competing among so many national competitors. In addition, the Chinese government is placing more and more emphasis on the economic growth of domestic companies.

If you need a supportive team to enter the Chinese market, do not hesitate to make an appointment with our experts.

Book a meeting with us!


Tags: China Marketing

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Sarah Wilhelm
Sarah Wilhelm
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