春节快乐 – Happy Chinese New Year and the start of the Year of the Pig – an animal that, in Chinese culture, is a symbol of wealth and good fortune. And this Year of the Pig has every chance of bringing prosperity to businesses who export to China. An expanding middle class and fast-growing consumer market make it a tantalising time to launch in China.
The importance of China has grown massively in the last 20 years. UK government statistics show how, in 1999, China was the UK’s 26th largest export market – generating £1.9bn and accounting for 0.7% of all our exports. In 2017, China was 6th in that list – worth £22.3bn to British businesses.
China is now poised to become an even more important market to UK companies, so here are some tips to ensure your business finds fortune when exporting to China:
With more than 500 million online shoppers and that number still growing, China is a fertile market for smaller businesses with an established web presence. Being on platforms like Amazon and eBay is a strong starting point. It’s a quick and easy way to help you scope out demand for your products, without over-committing resources into setting up a physical presence.
The government’s E-Exporting Programme can help UK companies export to China via e-commerce channels. Any UK business can sign up, no matter how much experience you have in online sales.
Have a look at taking advantage of other “cross-border” e-commerce opportunities that exist. Tmall Global and JD.com accounted for 82% of the Chinese B2C online shopping market in 2016.
Search Engine Exposure
Google’s search engine is blocked in China, so a top of page one rank won’t count for much. Instead, getting on Baidu is the smart way to expose your business to Chinese shoppers – Baidu had 70+% of China’s search engine market share in January 2019. Keep in mind, however, that foreign businesses will need local support due to language barriers, SEO differences and legal requirements.
For smaller businesses, making a success of exporting to China is going to be a struggle without local support – whether it’s creating a Chinese website, finding a distributor or securing a partnership. It’s vital to build strong, long-lasting personal relationships – or Guanxi – with potential partners.
It’s also essential to find a partner with unrivalled experience of parcel delivery to China. TNT Direct is that partner, helping UK businesses like yours to export to China. For the most competitive parcel delivery rates, a reliable service and complete end-to-end support, look no further than TNT Direct.
If your business has a unique and popular product, be sure to take steps to protect your intellectual property (IP). China operates a ‘first to file’ system – the first company that registers a trademark is awarded it under Chinese law. So, be sure to file for IP protection as soon as you decide to export to China – otherwise someone else could reap the rewards of your hard work.
Know Your Market
Like any new market you enter, research your target audience and how your product will be viewed. China – unlike any other nation – is undergoing a sustained period of urbanisation. The government is planning to move 250 million people from rural farming regions into cities by 2026. With this shift towards urban living, new gaps in the market are opening that your business can capitalise on.
Big Country, Big Opportunities
Exporting to China can seem like a daunting prospect. With a population of 1.4 billion and 102 cities home to at least 1 million residents, where do you start making your impression in China? Well, one suggestion is to perhaps first focus on the ‘tier one’ cities: Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tiangjin, as well as the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
With these handy tips and our professional parcel delivery services to China, let TNT Direct help your business find wealth and good fortune in this Year of the Pig. For more advice and support on how to successfully export to China, visit the China-Britain Business Council and government websites.
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