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China Skinny wishes you a happy 2015; we hope you saw it in with a bang!  The beginning of the year is often a time to plan ahead for the following 12-months. Whether you are already in China, or entering this year, here are a few points to keep in mind:

1. Strive to Understand Chinese Consumers

Understand who your consumers are. Where do they shop? What will catch their attention? How have businesses been successful with similar products and target markets? In addition to the answers to these questions, understand that Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and diverse each day. Just because a foreign business is present in China does not mean they will succeed, especially with the growing competition – not only from foreign brands but also from homegrown brands

2. Be Bold

Entering China with an online-only strategy has worked nicely for some but it is not going to work for everyone, especially those with low to moderate brand recognition. How are you going to make a splash and get noticed? Chinese consumers are not limited in their options as more imported goods and services attempt to attract their wallets. How will you stand out? Not every organisation or company may have the means to open a store, but how about a pop-up store? Or can you join a road show to exhibit your goods? Combining offline efforts with digital efforts is one way to smartly and efficiently capitalise on opportunities in China. There are ways to make a buzz beyond store openings, one just has to be smart about it.

3. Venture Out

First and second tier cities are fun and exciting, with their bright lights and big malls, but they’re becoming very crowded. Is there a place for your goods or services outside of the major cities – the most landlocked province in China was the number one seller of bikinis online per capita!  Provinces in China differ enormously so trying to tackle a population as large as China’s with a single countrywide strategy can be difficult, if not impossible. Geographical differentiation needs to be taken into account and regional strategies should to be considered to maximise available opportunities and provide consumers with relevant products, services and messaging.

4. Be Committed and Flexible

China changes fast. Entering China and getting setting up is only the first step to tackling China. To succeed in China you must not only be committed but also informed on the constant changes that happen in China. A long-term strategy that is flexible is fundamental when entering China. 

5. Keep it Real!

Stay true to your brand. In a low-trust society such as China it is vital to stick to your foundation. Attempting to change your brand to satisfy someone’s notion of what appeals to Chinese shoppers often backfires in the medium term. Understand your market, the available opportunities, and how your products or services best fit into that market. There are ways to localise and appeal to Chinese consumers while still remaining true to your brand. Presenting your brand as authentic and retaining your roots while taking a China-fied approach has a more sustainable chance of success than changing your brand’s identity.

 

China isn’t easy by any measure, but keeping these five points in mind will ensure your business is well placed to maximise the opportunities that China presents. All the best for 2015 in China!

 

China Skinny is pleased to announce a partnership with British research and strategy agency CrowdDNA.

The strategic partnership will see the agencies share insights, methodologies and resources to ensure their clients continue to receive cutting edge, cost effective research across China and Europe.

“The partnership with Crowd DNA is a natural fit for China Skinny given our similar values and approach to innovation,” says China Skinny founder Mark Tanner. “China is changing on a scale never seen before and we constantly need to evolve to keep up. The sharing of methodologies and other synergies will ensure that our clients will continue to understand their target markets in China better than anyone.”

China’s transition from an investment-led economy to a consumption-based economy, coupled with the soaring growth of the middle and upper classes has seen China become the most sought-after prize for European businesses expanding globally. China Skinny’s leadership in Chinese consumer research and intelligence will enable CrowdDNA to provide its clients such as Red Bull, IPC Media, Peroni, Channel 4 and Sony Music, compelling insights into China’s complex consumers.

Crowd DNA founder Andy Crysell comments: “We’re impressed with how China Skinny communicate their message and the impact of their work. Overseas research is accounting for close to 50% of our revenue now and, inevitably, China is an area of focus. The partnership with China Skinny bolsters our credibility and integrity in what is a particularly complex market.”

As increasingly confident and resourced Chinese brands look to expand beyond Mainland China, China Skinny is well placed to assist them in understanding the intricacies of the European market through its partnership with CrowdDNA.