Chinese Business Tips: 4 Western Habits to Avoid
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was the reason behind a drastic change in how we perceive growth. Now fast forward it to the 21st century and illustrate the changes in the business world. It’s a far cry from the actual theory but it gives you a much-needed perspective on how markets grew and established all over the world. How businesses adapted according to the environment and survived through the natural elimination process.
The modern economy, global and local, is fast developing and to no one’s surprise, China is surpassing as one the fastest growing economy. China is a fine example of the grandeur and a plethora of cultures but European or American companies find it the most difficult to adapt their market values. Many tried and failed big times while some recovered from the fast-changing trends.
It’s hard to keep up in China. Business customs and etiquettes are different than the rest of the world and the market is culturally sensitive too.
The Business World of China
How long does it take for a company to develop a strategy? Perhaps at least 6 months? The major drawback the foreign companies face is their long term planning is useless in the Chinese market. Trends and consumer buying habits change often which makes these gold-digging companies dumbstruck.
It’s important to realize that Chinese markets work anti-clockwise. Many fail to succeed so keeping this factor in mind some things need to be considered as a foreign business;
Be Fast and Furious
China has a fast developing market. Trends may change overnight which leaves businesses hanging by the thread. You do not have to be a company loaded with money; all you need to be is smart.
Companies working alongside Chinese translation services understand this factor more than any other company. Translators can relate to the native market, the consumer pattern, and sometimes even predict the trends too. It’s best to work with a native translator to overcome the communication barriers.
You may not be aware of the fact but Chinese companies can
- Manufacture 100,000 bikes in overnight
- They generate a replica of iPhone in one night and so on
It’s not even an exaggeration by any means. Zara is one of the world’s most popular retail brands. It was late in the game to enter China in 2012, their major focus was not on the sales but on how to minimize the risk in the unknown territory of China. Thanks to their modern web design, they catered to the attention of Chinese consumers and adapted their advertisement style to make them the best fit for local behavior.
Perfectionism is a Lost Cause
In China at least you do not strike for a perfect product, you always aim for a fast sale. The reason behind this strategy is that Chinese consumers are used to not having a 100% perfect service or goods. As long as your product functions for time being and is in trend, it will sell.
This sound absurd from western consumer’s point of view who are always looking for the product worth investing in. They want a long-term benefit rather than for a few hours. So it answers one of the pending questions: the mindset of Chinese consumers and western consumer is a lot different.
For instance, Google is a popular search engine in the western world but due to its disagreement on censorship with the Chinese government, China allocated Baidu as the national search engine.
What are you saying? Chinese do not use Google? Yes, they don’t. Baidu is the official Chinese version of Google. The reason is Baidu understands the local market better than Google does. Its features are more adaptive and changeable overnight like bulletin boards mobile search, advanced technology research in Mandarin, and so on.
Change the Western Mindset
Launching a product costs tons of money. But one successful product in the U.K doesn’t guarantee success in the Chinese market. From product launch to consumer behavior, every experience is unique so it’s better to adapt according to the Chinese market.
To become successful, you need to be flexible in business and marketing strategies. It’s a smart move to understand Chinese culture and traditions. That’s when localization will come into play.
Starbucks dominated the Chinese market in a short time. More than 90% of consumers are mobile users and therefore Starbucks initiated the use of WeChat, one of the most used apps in China. With this tool, they launched recent campaigns, informed consumers about the latest item on the menu and discount offers.
The most successful campaign so far is “How are you feeling today?” and users answered with a relevant emoticon.
Starbucks tailored marketing campaigns according to the cultural preferences of the consumers and keep changing it with the latest market trends.
Plan for Short-Term Strategies
This is the most effective way to make your way in China. Long-term strategies cost more and are not workable in the fast-changing economy of China. A short-term success works in favor of China, which given business plenty of time to change, bring creative customized ideas for branding and advertising.
Using Chinese translation service is a welcome strategy on board and each foreign company can use their help to adapt according to the Chinese market.
In 2013, Coca Cola recycled its campaign “Share a Coke” in China. Originally this campaign began in Australia in 2011 which showed a 4% increase in sales. Chinese consumers showed an optimistic response as Coca Cola focused on trending words like “fans” or “your sweetheart” instead of using a regular name like Paul or Sara.
Unlike the western market, the Coca Cola campaign localized according to the local market showing a boost in sales.
Follow the Tips to Survive
In terms of culture, China has a particular distinctiveness. To become a successful brand you must be creative and show flexibility;
- Learning Chinese or hiring a native linguist always works in your favor
- They help to interpret the meaning and cultural connotations
- Moreover, the use of a social media platform like WeChat is yet another effective tool to target your audience so you can kiss twitter and Facebook goodbye and adapt to Chinese versions of communication
- Keep evolving.
A tip may not be perfect but it gives you a much-needed perspective and insight about the market. China is different, so be like Chinese.