But the Chinese government has changed its economic course and is set to slow down the pace of growth in order to focus on the greater quality of growth to benefit the country.
So what are the opportunities for overseas businesses considering expanding into this giant?
A closer look at China’s economy
The Chinese government has ensured the continued growth of the country’s GDP – which accounts for a massive one-third of the total global economic growth. With the rise of China’s economic success, over 800 million Chinese people have been raised out of poverty and the country has since achieved the status of an upper middle-income nation.
However, in recent years the pace of China’s economic growth has decelerated and the levels of corporate debt have evened out. There is still an issue with the high levels of government and household debt which have been on the increase due to high government spending and the surge of consumers taking out loans and mortgages. But things are looking a little more constrained of late.
What business opportunities are available?
Although the strength of China’s economy is undeniable, a lot of businesses have been reluctant or nervous about entering this competitive market. China is one of the most unified and largest economic spaces in the world and with the rise of a wealthy middle-class; there has been a huge boom in the disposable income of the average consumer.
In the not-so-distant days of shoddy cheap production, poor quality and low-cost labour, “Made in China” was a much scoffed-at label. However, as China’s economy continues to grow, this is all changing.
Now, many of the commodities that are made in China are targeted at the newly-rich middle classes, ensuring that their preferences and tastes are being catered for. “Made for China” is fast becoming the new phrase on everyone’s lips.
Inevitably, the growth in consumer spending and the middle classes has affected some sectors more than others. Among native businesses, technology and electronics, fashion and luxury brands and cars, have all been focusing on the “Made for China” message. But there is growing demand in these sectors and others for international brands.
Education, digital marketing, travel, online business services, cosmetics and skincare and wealth management are just a handful of areas for which China is showing interest in international brands.
There are many more areas of opportunity out there, it’s all about finding the areas ripe to capitalise on the country’s interest in international branding. This interest is stronger than ever among China’s middle class as economic growth and global travel increase awareness of and desire for global products and services.
Navigating social nuances
Although there is much to be gained by breaking into the emerging Chinese market, many businesses have had problems or have failed spectacularly to compete against local companies within the context of an exacting commercial environment.
Partially, this has been down to a lack of awareness of the language barriers – so if you are considering marketing to China, make our professional translation services one of your first ports of call to avoid any costly errors.
China is a country where language and cultural context can vary across the different regions. Taking the time and dedicating attention to detail to ensure an effective translation, that is also sensitive to the Chinese culture, will help to build a solid foundation for your business in this market.
Keep in mind that there are two sets of Chinese characters used in writing Chinese, so a professional translator will enable you to decide which one will better represent your business depending on the region of China you’re keen on exploring. For instance, in Hong Kong, the more traditional characters are preferred to the simplified characters, while other regions show the opposite preference.
Remember, any translation needs to consider things from a cultural perspective as well. It’s important to have a firm grasp of the cultural shift in China since its meteoric rise. As the luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana learned the hard way; the Chinese don’t like to be associated with the old-fashioned and romanticised view of their country and instead prefer to be seen at the cutting-edge of technological modernity.
Technology in Chinese society
Indeed, in comparison to some European countries like Germany, China has a wholly different attitude when it comes to adopting new technologies. The success of companies such as WeChat and Baidu are a clear measure of China’s ability to adapt to new technology trends at an impressive rate. And even more astonishingly, the demographic spread across China’s major platforms is incredibly diverse, with users from different locations, age or economic groups all embracing China’s sophisticated digital landscape.
With other companies such as MING Labs, dedicated to building businesses and products for the digital market, and even going as far as aiding international companies to enter the Chinese market, there is a lot of insight available for tech companies to take advantage of.
From the new release of speedy online payments being made through the WeChat platform, to the retail advances of the likes of Alibaba, many tech companies are reaping the benefit of connecting the Chinese population through phone calls, live stream, video, text and the fast approaching EV (electronic vehicle) revolution.
Having said this, China’s ability to pioneer here is balanced out by strict government policies that pay close attention to how the nation consumes media and new technology. So success in this complex region will also involve an informed understanding of any restrictions that might apply to your sector – all the more reason to seek support when translating your brand message.
Ensuring business success in China
If you’re considering moving into the Chinese market, professional translation services are crucial to success. Compared to single freelancers or an online translation tool, expert knowledge from a professional translation team will help your brand shine in this new market.
With international brands more attractive than ever in the Chinese market, proper research into Chinese culture and the right adjustments to your marketing and product can open up some fantastic opportunities in the region.