Starry Eyed in China

June 30, 2009

Our clients routinely ask us about opportunities in China. Usually it is with eyes glazed over and pupils shaped like dollar signs!

“Of course we have to be sourcing in China. Of course we have to be manufacturing in China. Yes I need a Chinese website. And of course, if I could just sell one sku to every person in China I could retire tomorrow”…

All of the above may, or may not, be true. What is most certainly true is that China is a very complex place to do business that is, and will be, an ever greater opportunity for organizations that are prepared and realistic. Realistic about the investment in time, effort and resources.

When it comes to doing business in China the old adage – “look before you leap” rings true. Many of the pitfalls and potential hazards of rapid expansion to China were outlined recently by John Rogers, President of the MidWest US-China Association.

China really is “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” as he has traveled to the country over 50 times advising clients and working directly on projects. He correctly points out that China is really multiple markets with an incredible amount of diversity in terms of language, customs, geography and cultures.

In our work with clients considering expansion to China we often have to pull back on the reigns just as they are leaving the gate. This is where a solid understanding of a businesses’ strengths and weaknesses combined with a consensus on the critical success factors can save real time and money. From there a complete market knowledge inventory can be developed and an accurate opportunity assessment completed. At that point, armed with a rational strategy, the business can begin to tap into available resources and the necessary contacts for success.