China Superpower 1:
The importance of educating yourself on doing business in China
If you want your business to succeed in China, you will need more than just good intuition. The Chinese market is evolving and changing rapidly and in order to reach the necessary milestones to establish and run a business successfully, there are nine superpowers you should master first.
Once you learn and develop these different strategic techniques, you should continuously and consistently maintain them throughout your China journey to be able to make decisions fast and to focus on the growth of your organization.
A perfect example of that is 2020. Without a knowledge base, without an understanding of the trends occurring in China, it was impossible to pivot one's organization in China if you didn't have these basic superpowers.
In a time of crisis, these techniques become critical for you and your company.
The first superpower is education: the importance of educating yourself on doing business in China and recognizing what the Chinese market can offer you.
Knowledge is power. You must have a knowledge base on doing business in China to help you make decisions quickly and pivot your company accordingly.
Where can you get free information?
There are several ways to access a continuous education. The key is to ensure that you actually seek this information, read it on a regular basis and execute on it.
One important source are lawyers. You can subscribe to their newsletters and mailing for free. If you are using a law firm in your home country, with offices in China, subscribe to their mailing.
You might not want to read everything they send every week, but you can save it in a folder, in your Outlook, and go back to it when you need it or have the time.
Most lawyers offer free articles, publications, webinars, and informational sessions. Also, the first meeting is always free of charge.
Besides obtaining information from lawyers, you can access material through corporate service providers. If you decide to go this route, make sure to find out how long they have been working in China and the cost of their services.
There are thousands of service providers in China. It is crucial that you understand the background and experience that the company you are using has in China. What is their knowledge base?
Local companies tend to have a better network and are more familiar with the culture. Their knowledge base is more developed, and they understand the difficulties that business professionals face in their country.
Just as lawyers do, service providers offer free seminars, webinars, articles, and informational sessions free of charge. You can learn a lot from speaking to them and participating in their sessions.
Chambers of Commerce are a fantastic source of information as well. You do not have to join the Chamber in order to subscribe to their mailing list. If you are from the UK, you can go to the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, or the British Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, among others.
For many businesses, contacting your country’s Chamber of Commerce in China is a great starting point for exploring opportunities in the Chinese market.
The large number of Chamber of Commerce in China means that there is a good chance that your country has representation, and some of the more active countries even have multiple chambers or offices across China.
The International Chambers of Commerce in China were typically founded by a group of companies and individuals from the same country for the purpose of sharing knowledge, developing business relationships and gaining representation.
Once established, these non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations typically take on the role of acting as a bridge between China and their nation, helping to facilitate bilateral trade and arranging events.
Most of the Chambers in China have a wealth of local knowledge and a long list of contacts, so seeking their advice before embarking on major projects in China or even when encountering difficulties is always a good idea. Even if they don’t know the answer, they probably know someone who does.
For foreigners living in China, attending events arranged by their Chamber of Commerce can be a good opportunity to make acquaintances and act as a home away from home.
Also, the EU SME Centre is an European Union initiative that provides a comprehensive range of hands-on support services to European SMEs getting them ready to do business in China.
The EU SME Centre helps facilitate market access for European SMEs. Specifically, the Centre assists SMEs to establish, develop and maintain commercial activities in the Chinese market – through export and investment - particularly at the crucial early stages of their market penetration strategy.
The Centre provides advice and support in four areas – business development, law, standards and conformity and human resources. Collaborating with external experts worldwide, the Centre converts valuable knowledge and experience into practical business tools and services easily accessible online.
The Intellectual Property SME Helpdesk Factsheets provide you with an overview of key IP considerations in China. You can download each of these Factsheets to receive practical, business-focused information for free. The Helpdesk Business tools are produced to give you practical advice on how to develop and implement an effective IP strategy in China no matter what your level of business involvement is there.
Finally, there is Google. If you prefer to use this tool, you should be careful to read content no older than 12 months. Unless is generic information, limit your research to the most updated sites. Laws and regulations change frequently in China and it is vital to know the latest versions that will affect your business.
You should also research specific industry related organizations in China and subscribe to their mailing list. Check out what your competitors are doing in China and gather as much information as possible.
Woodburn offers a variety of free resources on our website, such as publications, articles and webinars.
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DISCLAIMER: All information in this article is verified to the best of our ability and is assumed to be correct at time of release; however, Woodburn Accountants & Advisors does not accept responsibility for any losses arising from reliance on the information provided within. The information provided is for general guidance and does not replace specialized advice.