Brighter Side

Some thoughts made into words.

Using the internet to export to China

Yesterday I attended a UKTI seminar on E-commerce in China.

Why you may ask? Because, as everyone knows, China is a rather large economy and one that continues to grow. Although none of my clients currently export to China it can only be a matter of time when they, or a new client, does; and I want to be ready to help!

I learned a lot and will split my observations over three articles. This first one will focus on general market trends, the second on how and where to sell online in China; while the final article will focus on social media in China.

The Chinese market

After years of very high growth, the Chinese economy is now 'slowing' to around 7.5% per annum. This is considered to be 'better quality' growth in that foreign investment is now encouraged and wealth is now spreading beyond the Eastern coast and into the interior.

The Chinese economic model is now shifting from an export-investment model towards greater domestic consumption. This offers greater opportunities for exporting high quality consumer goods from the West.

Traditionally, exporters have focused on Beijing and Shanghai. However, not only are these two cities already saturated with competition, it also ignores the rapid growth elsewhere in China. The size of the country makes it difficult to retail goods in every area which is why e-commerce can provide a good solution especially as the infrastructure is rapidly improving.

Being a large country, not only does the climate vary from sub tropical to very cold, but the population also vary in terms of attitude and even size! Understanding a very wide range of consumer profiles is essential.

The Chinese consumer

Estimates for 2020 suggest the middle class will grow to being 71% of the population in advanced cities, 67% in developing cities and 42% in emerging cities.

Middle class isn't measured on how much they earn or how big their house is, but how much disposable income they have (normally high due their being the inherited beneficiaries of the one child policy...) and their aspirations.

The statistics below are from Social Media Today.

About 45% are online - that is 618m people. However, internet speeds do vary greatly across the country.

A similar number are active users of social media.

Mobile phones penetration stands at 91%.

Register your trademark now!

The most important thing, repeated again and again, was even if you are not ready to export to China yet, it is worth spending around £1000 on trademarking your name. Once your application is in, you have protection even though the process can take 12-18 monte to complete.

There are many stories of brands exhibiting in Europe, or even just exporting to one country and someone trademarking the name in China. It can take years and cost thousands of dollars to regain your brand name....