China’s exports are still a major driver for its growth, but it has been heavily dependent on foreign technology. In order to reduce dependence and help boost domestic demand in China going forward, the government is working hard at producing vital components domestically as opposed to importing them from abroad. This will make imports less of an economic force than they have been since before the 1980s when Reform and Opening Up began.

“How to export to China? “More and more people have now this problem, how to sell products or services to Chinese. There was a time for sourcing in China, but now it seems that the trend is changing, european and american companies are realizing that “China is not only the world’s factory ” but it is becoming a major consumer market.

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How to export “Made in Foreign Country” to China?

Many SME who mostly live peacefully in Europe are faced with  the long and withend crisis, and reading the news who describe China as the Eldorado!

These entrepreneurs, managers or export sales manager do not have much experience in Export to Asia, or about China, but have the intuition that their product could be liked by Chinese.

Good news for these people, Chinese usually like the “Made in France”, “Made in Germany” “Made in Italy”  they like goods from oevrsea, because it is synonymous of luxury, quality, and refinement.

There is no strong reluctance to buy “Made in Europe” or “Made in US”, except the price.

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Export to China what are the range of Solutions!

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I will list all the solutions that open up to you! (I will try to be as general as possible because each sector, each product is different and requires a different strategy)

Selling through Chinese agents!

There are in China, many agents who wish to represent foreign companies. These agents are different size and different ways to distribute your products. Ussually, they operate their networks, and by selling relationship.

Quick reminder for the novice reader:

“Chinese people get use to doing business with networking/relationship”!

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The Retail

For many products, you can sell in China for mass distribution or specialized distribution. It is generally difficult to be able to return.

The supermarket is famous for the bad treatment of theirs suppliers, but the volume of sales may be important.

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The “import” area of an Auchan supermarket in China

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Specific distributors

In China, like everywhere in specialized industries, you can find specific distributors. These are specialist distributors for all the country or by cities. They usually have their existing network of customers and offer them different types of products or services. This is usually efficient if the product is “high end” or sent to a specific target!

Example : For the food , there are examples of stores for  imported product.


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Trade Fairs / Exhibition

How to find these customers especially in the B to B? Trade Fairs are the most used to identify new contacts in a specific sector. There are in China, various exhibition for different industries.

Exposure may generally cost money and ROI is not always good according to many exposants. Many companies compete for creativity to get noticed, attract the eye of chinese visitors and can impact press favors.

Vineexpo includes all wine professionals in Asia. This is a meeting place for all producers and distributors.

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At Vinexpo 2012

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Direct Selling

It is possible to sell directly to the market, with opening a structure, and employin satff to sell directly to customers. Identify, after meet customers and try to sell your range of products . This solution usually takes more time, requires more resources but more profitable at the long term.

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The sale may be made through direct selling or installing outlets.

The implantation of commercial-type stucture in China have risen sharply and China will be the third destination of implantation.

Example : Revenues generated by the French companies operating in China reached 35 billion euros (49.75 billion U.S. dollars) last year, three times more than from direct exports of France to China.

According French Chamber of commerce and Industry :  French exports to China reached 11 billion Euros in 2010, up 39.4% over the previous year

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Selling via Internet

You can also choose to distribute your products via Internet through its own site or on chinese e-commerce websites. You should know that E-business is booming in China and the e-commerce sales in China rose 66% in 2011. the Online sales account for 3% of total sales.

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I think overall you have these great tracks, which are not so different from other markets around the world.

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But the “Key Factor” for Export in China, selling your products and seduce chinese consummer is a good Marketing!

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Adapting your product to the Chinese market, is a big challenge for many company. The product sold may be packaged with great success in France, in Russia but need a big changement for the Chinese Market. In most of the cases, the foreign company have to make changes, because the Chinese consumer lives thousands of miles of western consumer and it is therefore logic that they do not have the same tastes, different needs and a lot of expectations.

Branding Your Product: China is a Brand Market , usually Asian consumers are very attached to the brand of the product for a question a face and image. So the Positioning is very important, only affluent consumers can afford a product import.

Communication: do not know your product need a lot of communication efforts to  attract the attention of chinese consumers or distributors. If the chinese media speak about you, it will help to increase awareness of your company.

Marketing Tools: Even in BtoB, business tools have a capital importance if we sell products or services with high added value.

Internet: Chinese people are spending more and more time online, but having a website in Chinese is not enough to attract visitors. You have to work, communicate online, working on the SEO … The Chinese Social Networks (Weibo) today play a major role for the public.

Select your distribution: As I mentioned earlier, you have to choose a distribution channel for your products, a trustfull distributor or a proper way to distribute your goods.

The executive: the major problem of foreign companies in China is : The Execution, the cultural gap between western  and Chinese between orders given and the results. It can be explained by the language barrier, different culture, and habits… Sometimes it’s good for the company, Chinese can really adapt perfectly to the situation (better than you), and sometimes even a small problem become a HUGE waste of time!

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Source : Export Chine

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Do you Want to react or add something?

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Olivier VEROT

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7 Comments

  1. hi we are a distributing company in iran our main products are best natural honey and good quality figs and our special confectionary named esfahan gaz we are looking for chineese customers how can you help us ???? waiting your response thank you sharif davod chief executive of sharif toos company

    1. Hello Davod,
      We can help you. Contact us on our website, and our consultant will explain to you how we can help you to export to China.

  2. I would like to export chocolate to china and coffee
    Do I need special china export license?

    An information anout export restrictions to China?

    1. Of course you need special license if you want to register your Product/Brand in China. If you want to do Crossborder, you need to get some certification, yes but it is easier.
      Contact us if you want to know more in private message.

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