How to Expand your Business into China

China is the world’s second largest economy, and is due to continue expanding, so it makes sense that businesses want to capitalise on the investment opportunities the country presents. With a population of over 1.3 billion, breaking into the Chinese market is attractive to almost every business, but there have been a number of famous companies that have tried, and failed, to expand in China.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

This could be due to a lack of knowledge in how to localise and launch a business in China, or it could simply be because there simply isn’t a market for the company. According to the program director at Chinacelerator, a company which helps startups bridge the gap to the east Asian market, Oscar Ramos: “Ninety-nine per cent of companies who want to access China as a foreign company, shouldn’t.” He goes on to say that the remaining one per cent should think about what makes them better than any other company currently operating in China. But what can you do to ensure your company merits a place in that one percent?

Before you do anything, study the Chinese market

When launching a business in a new country, it’s important to conduct extensive market research and create a detailed business plan based around your findings. It can be easy to lose sight of the unique selling point which made your business so successful in the first place, but following a detailed plan will ensure you stay on track.

China contains a number of different autonomous regions, each with their own distinct markets, making market research crucial for new businesses launching in the country. Companies need a deep understanding of the laws and market trends for each region of the country in which they plan to do business before they can truly expand successfully.

Work with translation experts when doing business in China

Business in China is conducted differently from business in the West; for example, whereas Western employees are less hesitant to share ideas with their managers, business hierarchy is extremely highly revered within Chinese corporate culture. Chinese employees are also less likely to speak up in meetings in comparison with Western businesses, so it’s important to take note of the differences in cultures before you start.

Understanding these customs will also help you when it comes to localising your business ready for the new market, which will necessitate changing your website completely for a Chinese audience.

Translation companies such as London Translations have noted that the booming Chinese economy has led to an increased demand for Mandarin Chinese translation services, stating that there is likely to be “a sharp increase in Chinese M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity, with the purchase of overseas companies expected to double in the next few years.”

Considering the increasingly acquisitive nature of Chinese businesses, having a translator and interpreter may be extremely useful for your business. Translation experts will also have an intricate knowledge of doing business in China, and will be able to advise you on any differences in law, as well as culture, in order to help your business grow in China. Your translators will also be able to assist you by offering interpreters for meetings, and translating any legal documentation you may need to sign.

Partnership with China-based business

Build relationships with existing Chinese businesses

Networking offers a number of benefits for businesses, establishing a professional relationship between companies and potential customers and clients, as well as referrals to potential customers. Building relationships with other businesses also increases your visibility, both on a B2C and B2B basis. This can be hugely beneficial when expanding a business in a new country, as having the backing of other, locally-recognised companies can help you acquire customers and clients as soon as you establish yourself in a new territory.

Networking also lets you see if there are any other businesses in the country that are similar to yours, allowing you to identify potential competitors. You may also be able to see how they are marketing their products in order to compare it to your own business plan. Competition can be good for business, allowing you to notice (and fill) any gaps in the market left by other companies working in the same sector, and constantly gives you a drive to improve with innovative ideas. This can help massively when expanding your business, letting you stand out from the crowd and draw more customers in.


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