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Saturday, September 25, 2010

It is not easy to find a reliable partner in China though it is an important requirement for us to sell our products or services in China. How to get connected to potential partners; either it a sales agent or consultant, a distributor or an importer? There are multiple choices; you can get some contacts through online B2C or B2B like, Taobao and others. You can also search through popular search engines in China, including Baidu or Sina or you can go online to trade promotion organisations in China like the China Council and Promotion of Investment and Trade (CCPIT).

You can also enquire through various Malaysian agencies available abroad; esp like Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysian missions overseas. They can provide all sorts of information on market and trade leads.

To start a business relationship takes time. Whatever it is, it should be done professionally and according to standard business practice. Both sides may not know each other and thus it takes time to build up the trust. Even after knowing each other and comfortably doing business for long time, you may still need to take continue with precautionary measures to safeguard your business. Anything can happen, in bad and good times. Even when business in rosy times unexpected things can happen and you should always be alert of signs that may adversely affect your business.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When you want to sell in China, we need to find out about the potentials/prospects of the market for our product/service. Among factors that you need to consider before decide whether to go in or not are:

* market size of a product/service that you want to sell - that includes for both locally available and imported or foreign
* market segment - low, medium and high end customers based on your pricing and product positioning
* where to market; 1st tier, 2nd tier or 3rd tier markets ( 1st tier the most advanced cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou), (2nd tier the emerging markets like Dalian, Qingdao, Nanjing and Chengdu), (3rd tier the less developed cities/provinces like Xinjiang and Ningxia). Remember regardless of what tier, the three market segments are still applicable
* Product costing - to make sure that your retail price or price that you offer in the market still give you considerable margin
* Who is your partner in China - you want to do it yourself? It's recommended that you find a good and reliable partner in China to facilitate your market entry, distribution and marketing of the products/services

The above are some of the factors that you should think of when you want to sell or enter China market. No doubt it is a lucrative market but at the same time it is very competitive market, considering the competition that you face not only from local players but also foreign players that are flooding into China.

So, what you need is to identify the 'niche' market for your product/services. Always remember that small share of market in China can mean big to us. Don't be greedy, start small first and expand from there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When we want to start doing business with China, first thing we need to choose is what products or services we want to involve in. Are we buying or selling or are we doing both(trading).

For selling, what products or services that we can offer to China? We need to find out what China customers want. Surprisingly, though China is regarded as world's factory where we can find anything that we need, just name it, but at the same time now the customers are also craving for foreign or imported products. China produces all types of processed food; but at the same time the country is also importing all types of processed food from all over the world. A simple example, China produces biscuits and confectioneries, at the same time they also import a lot of biscuits and confectioneries.

What can we say about this? This shows that customers' mindset has gradually shifted in China from China-made only products to now foreign or imported products. The increasing purchasing power has changed the lifestyle and customers with money is willing to spend more for expensive foreign or imported products as a symbol of high status in the society. This is happening not only to big or 1st tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou but also to other newly emerging cities like Nanjing, Dalian, Qingdao and Chengdu. The middle class which can afford foreign products has increase in numbers, at the moment 300-400 million population in China is categorised as middle and upper class.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Setting up a Malaysian restaurant in China

A friend of mine is in the midst of opening up a Malaysian restaurant in a big city in China. I had given my input and advice on the prospects of having a unique restaurant to promote Malaysian cuisines to 1.3 billion people in China. No doubt it is a big market but at the same time, there already so many foreign restaurants in China, do not talk about local restaurants/food stall as the number are in the millions.

But, is it still worth it to have another Malaysian restaurant in China? Yes, and it depends on how we position our restaurant; fine dining, normal restaurant, cafe style, kopitiam style of food court outlet style? Each positioning has a niche market. More important is how you promote the restaurant and the traffic flow at the location also a critical factor.

As we may aware, nearly 1 million Chinese tourists visit Malaysia every year and the same number of Malaysian tourists visit China annually. So, the presence of Malaysian restaurants in China would serve for both locals and Malaysian tourists, and not to forget the increasing foreign community in China.

The friend's restaurant is expected to be launched by end of this year and i hope can join the celebration.

Another friend of mine is in the midst of signing an agreement with a local distributor in a second tier city in China to sell white coffee. Through my network in China, I helped them to find the local partner. White coffee from Malaysia has increasingly gained popularity in China and I had observed several Malaysian white coffee brands already in China market. But as the market is big, there's still good prospects for white coffee market to be expanded.

I am also helping other friends to develop all types of businesses with China and I am happy that my assistance to them have been quite useful.
I am helping several friends who want to explore China market. They have products and they want to enter China market. Based on my experiences in China, I get them connected with potential distributors/importers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How to do business with China?

Regardless whether you a small, medium or big companies, the first thing you should do before embarking on doing business with a particular market like China is doing your market research first. This is a natural thing to do but this is a very important element before you can decide whether it is worth or not to do business with China.

There are many ways of conducting market research. Medium or big companies maybe can afford to oursource this activity from market research agencies or buy existing reports that available in the market. While small companies may have to do it themselves. In this modern IT world, information is widely available and it just requires our initiatives to search for the information. It may not be as comprehensive as the info that available from market research reports but at least we have some important info to fall back.

I had experiences helping Malaysian companies doing market research or compiling market info.

China - The Place for Doing Business

Many people are sourcing products from China. The obvious reason is for their lower prices as compared to many other countries. China is regarded as the 'factory' of the world, you can name any products and its there in China. The price is very competitive though the quality can be an issue. Cheap and low quality products have its own customer base, people are still buying costs their are cheap and would rather use it for certain period of time and then replace it with new one. China's products quality nowadays has improved significantly and been exported worldwide.

Many of small time foreign buyers, esp from Malaysia, are interested in household products like bed sheets, table liners, curtains,clothes, etc. Other products of interest include all types of gadgets like computer parts and accessories, handphones, watches, etc. They can get these products from wholesale market and popular shopping areas in China, if the volume is not big. If the volume is big they can source directly from factories. Some of them visit trade fairs and exhibitions to get to know the producers directly and can get better price.

What are recommended steps of doing business in China? See you next posting..

Sunday, September 5, 2010

China - The Place for Doing Business

China is the 'place' for doing business nowadays. Everybody is taking advantage of China's booming economy and going there to do business. The answer whether it is possible to do business in China is YES, and it is still not too late to seize a small share of China's economy and make profit.

It depends on what type of business you want to do with China. The investment will depend on the type of business. Some Malaysian companies are doing big there, having their production facilities or factories in China and this will require heavy investments, probably millions of US$. Some of them invested in projects, like waste and water treatment, information and communication technologies (ICT), infrastructure, real estate and so on. These also require heavy investments, and some of them in billions of US$.

Don't talk about millions or billions of US$ unless you have such financial capability. We can also do business with China in smaller ways. For instance, if you want to do trading, the investment needed is not as high as compared to other types of business. A lot of people do trading with China. Many of Malaysians also do trading. For those who buy or source Chinese products, normally they visit some of the well known wholesale or retails markets in China and look themselves the products they want to buy. They either bring back the products by hands or appoint an agent to ship the products back home. This kind of trading is small but the profit margin can be big.

Will continue.....

China - the next world economic powerhouse

China is fast becoming a major economic powerhouse in the world today. The country has surpassed Japan as the 2nd biggest economy in the world and the economic growth has been sustained by its huge domestic economy, foreign direct investment as well as its exports.

During my 4+ working experiences in the capital of China, I am fortunate to witness the fast development of the country. From its infrastructure to its social development, China has reckon itself as the 'market' for foreign enterprises, and Malaysia not exluded. The number of Malaysian enterprises; small, medium or big, doing business in China has increased significantly over the past 20 or 25 years. The Malaysian companies venture in all sectors; manufacturing, services, trading and so on. Some of them already have their business set up in China; in the forms of production facilities, branches and representative offices. All because they want to tap the huge 1.3 billion market. A small share of business in China market can mean big to us, hence like it or not we need to give it a try.

Would it be possible for us to do business with China, how much investment we need and what we need to do before dealing with China market?? Wait my next posting...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Before we conduct market research, we need to specify what type of information that we want. We need to have focus, otherwise we may waste not only our time spent in doing research but also money if we outsource the research.

I have done a quite a number of market research myself and share it with others who need it. Many students and small and medium size enterprises also requested me to do market research with a nominal fee. I do not mind to spend time doing research since I like doing it and also I know the info can benefit others in education and business.

Market Research

Market research is important before we plan to do business or sell certain products or services. It is not difficult to conduct market research if you know how to source the information. In this modern internet world, the easiest way to source for info is via internet. We can get a lot of information from internet, which may help you in doing your market research. I think this is most cost effective way of doing market research.

Another way of doing market research is by visiting resource centers and libraries that are available in various places. You will find it useful to visit these resource centers as they offer various kinds of information and depending on what types of info you require, you can always check which resource centers or libraries that can offer such info.

Of course, if you have a bit of savings or good financial back up, you can always outsource for the info from a reliable market research agencies. They will do the job for you at a cost, and normally the info gathered is both the first and second hand sources of information.

I am keen in searching for information esp business related info. Probably my interest is due to my background that requires me to do a lot of research and helping people to do business. So I need to quip myself with a lot of knowledge on business. I had also lived abroad for nine years and exposed to intense and challenging business environment and competition which require me to do a lot of market research on particular business in order for me to help others who want to do business.

If you are keen to explore working with me on market research or seeking advice, esp if you are students of novice in business, please feel free to exhange ideas.