Can Specialist Retailers Survive against Alibaba and Amazon?
It is said that whoever hits first, hits twice. Some days ago, Zalando signed a partnership with its biggest competitors, Amazon and Alibaba. Far from thinking that they were wrong, we feel confident about the future of these new alliances between Europe, China and United States.
Zalando was founded in Berlin (Germany) in 2008. Born as an European electronic commerce company, the brand already holds the leadership as the largest online fashion retailer, while also has become the second largest group in Ecommerce in European region.
Although originally its activity was focused in marketplaces, in 2010 Zalando starts its jump into developing and selling its own brands. Online selling shoes, clothes and fashion items constitute the core of the company, under a cross-platform perspective.
A step to break: boundaries to online shopping
Even if such perspective still remains today, observers enjoy its dramatic effects: to an unique Refund – Return policy in retail and a highly attractive shipping, have joined an effective logistic management and a recent prospection in offline context.
Although timidly, its development in the offline environment constitutes a new movement to establish its brand in the retail market and its visibility on some physical multibrand markets in Germany. To this point is joined an attractive shipping policy that enhances its appeal to the consumer: it is fast, secure and in case the users feel dissatisfied with their purchase, they have the chance to return them within 90 days.
Even if its payment and reimbursed model is constantly criticized for its high risk, it is also truth that this pillar has become an emblem for Zalando, its trademark and distinction over its competitors.
Zalando pushes online to grow
The company shows a steady growth in its presence in Europe, while designing its jump to the international area. The future seems promising according to their latest analysis prospects, with a year revenue growth close to 20%.
This rise is the result of three main reasons:
- Its total adaptation to mobile user experience: U-commerce is the new king in sales –check our articles “How to Take Advantage of the Latest E-commerce Revolution? U-commerce Trend” and “5 Things to Avoid When Doing Business in China” to discover a bit more!–
- Mobile purchases are already more than half of its sales
- A wide range of products and therefore, a great audience to address
- Its advantage of using a vast network of online platforms
A twist to Ecommerce
The desire of the Group is boosting its international sales and take advantage of the huge possibilities that the electronic market and their highly developed logistics presents to them.
To achieve its goals, Zalando has woven alliances with the giants of E-commerce: Amazon and Alibaba. Although its presence on Tmall is expected for the coming months, its bet for B2C trade -previously discussed by us in our article “Do Other Ecommerce Platforms Stand a Chance Against Tmall?”- some steps further on international distribution are already in discussion.
It is worth noticing that this giant enterprises are transforming traditional business into a new business model. Digital Marketing and Ecommerce helps to create new partnership systems for other companies around the World, and it will become more and more important in the following years.
In search of a Digital and Ecommerce Company? If you have any question or require any information about our services,
Europe and China Partner to Provide Mobile Payment Solutions by Alipay
Not quite a month we woke up with the news that two technological giants had joined forces in creating an alliance with huge chance of success. The alliance between Ingenico Group and Alipay is focused on payments innovation as part of a wider international push, but is also a recent demonstration of the growing momentum of Chinese companies in Europe.
Over recent years, Chinese ambitions in Europe are clearly visible: just in 2016, Alipay has forged alliances with Uber app and Wirecard to offer mobile payments services around the World.
The alliance is based in European mobile payments
Ingenico Group is a french company specialized in designing a wide range of payment solutions, whatever the sales channel or payment method is chosen, according to three main needs that merchants and consumer ask: a secure, easy and seamless experience.
In recent years, China has created a vast and well integrated digital ecosystem in which highlights Alipay– a Chinese equivalent to PayPallaunch by Alibaba– which is already China’s leading third-party online payment solution with no transaction fees. The company already has more than 400,000,000 active Users.
Although there are many reasons behind this alliance, the clear purpose was to tap into the huge Chinese tourist flow in Europe. As we wrote in our previous article “How to Acquire Chinese Tourists through Digital Marketing“, the Chinese tourism consumption is already estimated to be the highest in the World. Moreover, Chinese tourism market will keep growing even faster: in year 2019, estimations says that consumption will reach US 264 billion dollars.
The motivation to exploit the partnership is shared: on the one hand, Europe has become the major vacation destination by a sector of the population with high standard of living; on the other hand, Alipay seeks to exploit the existence of more than 120 million Chinese tourists arriving in Europe every year and an approximately cost of $ 875 on average, while offering a payment experience nearest to their day to day.
Chinese tourists in Europe will be able to pay via Alipay App at any store that uses the Ingenico solution
The announcement not only underscores the growing relationship in business between two increasingly interconnected areas, but also the enormous benefits that such collaboration can mean to both. With such a perspective, it is not surprising the happy ending. As Philippe Lazare, Chief Executive Officer of Ingenico Group said,
“We are very excited to partner with Alipay and contribute our unique omni-channel expertise, products and services to help them optimize the user experience and boost sales all over the world. Their choice for Ingenico is a tribute to our high success rate and ability to meet even the most demanding customers’ requirements.”
Chinese tourists are accustomed to using electronic payment methods, an innovation that fails to catch on among European citizens. Presumably, this cultural difference has become a barrier that discourages expenditure among Chinese tourists. As Jacques Behr, Ingenico’s executive vice-president for Europe and Africa said,
“Payment becomes a friction for business so we are removing this friction by allowing the retailers to capture sales to the Chinese tourist population.”
The measure therefore seeks to stimulate Chinese people expenditure in their major holiday destination, but also tries to take advantage of the huge market Alipay already has in China: more than 450 million users liable to become target audience, and a market share in mobile payments in China higher than 80%. As they themselves spelled out,
“We are building international business step by step. There is much still to do with our customer base, and is still expanding.”
Such collaboration not only benefits the Chinese people, but also means a qualitative leap in technological enjoyment for Europeans. The alliance seeks to provide to European online retailers and to customers the possibility to pay and accept payments through Alipay´s eWallet through some marketplaces. An excellent way to boost e-commerce and sales in China and Europe.
Although the operation has already begun, both companies estimate that Alipay won’t be fully operational in Europe yet.
Just to start
While Alipay makes its movements, the rest of the world watches. Only companies that have a deep understanding of Chinese market can cope with the changes that are to come.
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China And The Ripple Effect On The Global Stage
What are the risks that could arise from the economic slowdown in China? How does China affect to other countries? Since starting its market reforms almost thirty years ago, China´s currently economy cannot be ignored.
Even if China has not left behind its centrally-planned economy yet, it has introduced some big measures to turn into a market-based country. Such efforts have resulted in a huge GDP growth and has lead the country to reach all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Currently China has become the second largest economy in the world, but deals the first in the ranking by the quantity of goods and services produced. Moreover, according to the expectations published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the present year, China will be responsible of the 18% of the entire World economic activity.
If to all this we add the expectations of its huge and richer population, its rapid change on production models and its consequent role on the World stage, we can conclude that the importance of China in the world has become a matter of vital importance in today’s global interregional balance.
But its big hits cannot make us forget that China still remains a developing country, and as we have mentioned before on our article “Ten Challenges on Chinese Future“, not only market reforms are incomplete, but also it has huge challenges ahead which must start to face.
After the financial crisis of 2008, neither the business community nor Governments have fully restored their confidence on the global economy. The doubts about the economic bonanza and the future role of Western countries have underestimated the increasing influence capacity of China in the international arena, while doubts have generated certain fear of a possible blowout of the country.
Trade effects are a game changer
The channels through which China affects the global economy can be summarized on:
- Decrease in trade and exchange rates
The Chinese leadership on trade makes hard not to affect global demand. China’s import volumes keep growing, but less than expected. This becomes a huge problem to those countries dependent on Chinese exports: raw materials are highly susceptible of the slowdown.
This effect creates a bidirectional paradox: China affects the world as much as the world affects China.
Although there has been much speculation about a possible future depreciation of the RMB in order to relaunch Chinese exports, in the team we believe that a currency war is currently off the table.
- Oil lower prices and commodities
The latest drops in oil prices are caused by the lack of confidence on Chinese economy. Its weakness has led to enormous imbalances on exporting countries of crude oil and raw materials: Russia, Brazil, OPEC countries and the U.S. still suffer for it. China’s falling demand has greatly contributed to the new situation and with it, deflation has knocked on the door.
However, according to the latest analysis made by the IMF, the negative effects are supplemented by growth in the purchasing power of the population. The Organization still thinks that lower prices on commodities have a positive effect on general economy.
- Monetary and inflation policies
The recent affordability of RMB should not make us forget that Chinese weakness can lead to a global new paradigm surrounded by deflation and debt. Once again, lower prices stimulate consumption, and this leads to boost demand, bigger sales and prosperity. Lower prices have become the stimulus of global economy.
- Cultural hegemony
Even if the Western countries have underestimated China’s rise, the consequences can already be seen. Although Cultural power follows to Economy and Politics, China already shows its increasing political and cultural power on international arena: mandarin language and Chinese diplomacy have become a key to Government policy.
Its empowerment is more visible in East Asia, but runs fast around the rest of the world. We have started living in a China-centrism, in which global power gravitates around Chinese policy.
Nowadays, confidence in the global economy is vital for prosperity but unpredictable. The ripple effect that is lived in the global area, is greater than ever.
Understand this huge spider web which is China, seize opportunities to launch your business and boost your sales, are our goals.
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10 Challenges On Chinese Future
Any approach to Chinese landscape ends falling into the same debate: Will China evolve or break over the next years?
Although experts do not agree (And neither do we!), in the team we believe it is important to name some of the most immediate challenges ahead for China.
Current challenges are also the challenges of the future
When we talk about China, no one agrees. The huge boost experienced by China in the last thirty years has not buried the doomsayers who year after year have sown doubts about the future of China. Faced with them there are some enthusiasts who proclaim that the next world leadership belongs to China. Who has the reason? Not everything is white, not everything is black. Both sides are right.
Reforms, Where to start? Ten points to keep in mind
China is characterized by the dynamism that has developed in recent years. In order to ensure the future growth of the country, Chinese authorities must address some issues of particular importance:
First, Local Government Debt:
Local and regional government debt have been a terrible headache for analysts. We would like to underline the explanation Nicholas Zhu, senior analyst at Moody’s, gave,
“For the local government direct debt, we believe the government is finding a handle by capping it at 16 trillion yuan ($2.45 trillion) overall and improving the structure by swapping some existing debt into bonds at lower cost and longer maturity.”
However, in recent times the central bank started to allow qualified individual investors to buy and sell the bonds through commercial banks.
Second, Reform State Companies:
The Government is attempting to reform the state-owned sector while continuing to maintain its currently control. To do this, some different attempts have been made, such as: mixed formulas, restructuring, mergers, open up protected service sectors to private and foreigners, them all focused on enhancing their competitiveness and autonomy on private-sector markets.
Third, Liberalize the Financial Sector:
Financial liberalization is a key in Chinese reform, and it is closely linked to the privatization phenomenon itself. Both reforms will be needed to maintain Chinese growth, and facilitate the creation of jobs and the reliably channels credit to companies. The success of economic reforms carried out, will be a determining point of stabilization or social destabilization, and are a sensitive issue in governmental action. As the country opens its doors further, as the former Australian ambassador to China, Geoff Raby said,
“Equally China will be more open to capital inflows.”
Investment in China is drived by Foreign Direct Investment, as a key which gives advantages to the supplier and also to the host. Moreover, is a thermometer of the future of the business, and China has already started to capitalize its benefits. At the same time, FDI depends on some key – factors:
- Capital Availability: China is already the world’s largest recipient of foreign capital.
- Competitiveness: Rests on the country’s capacity to develop its infrastructure, resource availability, productivity and workforce skills.
- Regulatory environment: A difficult legal doctrine and excessive regulation, have been a serious handicap for investment in China. Things are changing, but it is still far to be as it should be.
- Openness to trade –especially international one.
To achieve the Chinese structural goals, it is a necessary condition that the country’s growth rate is maintained over 5 years above 6.5%. Moreover, in China Dollar strength prevents avoid closing 2016 with deflation, and has contributed to high capital outflows in recent years.
Sixth, Chinese Demand for Hard Commodities:
A very important point to consider for countries that produce raw materials as iron, copper or aluminum. Its prices will drop sharply as long as its demand will go slower. This expectation is opposed to food, which will keep increasing due to the growth of Chinese middle class.
China´s export competitiveness are based on three main principles: low unit – labour costs and interested rated, and an undervalued yuan. Due to the paradigm shift, it is expected that China’s strength at this point has begun to crack; an opportunity for others countries after all!
Over the past five years, China has promoted with great vehemence its innovative sector. The technical, economic and human development are impressive, especially its efforts in Science & Technological graduates. According to Mckingsey Global Institute,
“China must generate two to three percentage points of annual GDP growth through innovation, broadly defined. If it does, innovation could contribute much of the $3 trillion to $5 trillion a year to GDP by 2025.”
China lives in a permanent Environmental crises: air and water pollution, deforestation and desertification, biodiversity, high rates of cancer and the growth of a middle-class who is adopting a Western –style consumer patterns have become a huge problem for future. China needs to change the course of its current model. Therefore, he has embraced renewable energy.
We cannot talk about Environment without mention Consumption. The sharp increase of in domestic consumer patterns and the Chinese middle-class prosperity, will need of a sustainable and growing consumer economy based on the need of big service sector reforms.
Companies must be ready. How to be competitive in China?
The rapid evolution of the world stage precludes long-term estimates. Having an updated database and the example of a specialized agency, is always a clear advantage in any approach to the market, but even more in China. It has never been enough for global business to know what is coming, but also knowing how to take advantage of every opportunity that arises in the market.
In search of a specialist Agency in the Chinese environment? Are you interested on Digital Marketing and Ecommerce?
Infographic: 10 Things You Need To Know To Build a Chinese Website
A picture is worth a thousand words
After the great success achieved by our two articles 10 Things You Need To Know To Build a Chinese Website (I) (II), in the team we have thought it would be a good idea to summarize and turn them into an infographic.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed its elaboration 🙂
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Spain and China, Allies but not Colleagues in Trade
This post comes to underline the strategy played by Spain on EU’s China policy, a role which has received virtually no attention so far, as well as the major reasons why Spanish e-commerce is potentially attractive for Chinese companies.
Spain´s strategy is based on promoting a political resemblance with China in order to gain a preferential economic treatment, a plot which has led to disparate results for both China and Spain.
A general view of bilateral trade
Even though both countries feel friendliness each other, they do so for different reasons: Spain emphasizes on economic benefits, while China is interested on Spanish political weight on the European stage.
In the last thirty years, Spain has tried to turn China into a key-partner, with mixed results in practice.
- China is the 5th non-EU destination for Spanish exports
- China is the 1st non –EU origin of Spanish imports
- Spain is the 7th trade partner of China in –EU
- China is the 11th destination of Spanish exports
- China is the 14th destination for Spanish investment (less than 1% of total)
- Spain is the 9th destination for Chinese investment in -EU
When looking at the evolution, some positive trends can be underscore:
- Spain’s exports to China have double to 4 billion in 2014
- China’s exports to Spain are growing since 2013
- Both country´s exports are well diversified
After the financial crisis in the West, Spain has redoubled its efforts to trade with China. There is still a huge growth potential for both countries to further develop.
Political understanding to facilitate Chinese future investment
The difficulties encountered by the Spanish companies in their landing in China contrast with the political temperance shown by Spain in its approach to China. The policy marked by Spanish governments regarding its Chinese counterpart has never shown significant differences: whether the party in power, Spanish policy has always been the same.
Far from stagnating, Golden Visa and Spanish Treasury Bonds are just two examples shown by Spain to attract Chinese investors, as well as the constant reminder of its close ties in Latin America.
The potential of Spanish E-commerce: an opportunity for Ecommerce business
Comparing to other mature markets, there are still loads of fresh chances to seize in the country: Spain’s ecommerce market as a whole is relatively small.
According to the latest analysis –Ecommerce Europe ´14-, Spain is the largest Ecommerce market in Southern Europe, far from Italy (2nd) and Turkey (3th).
Around 60% of Spanish customers already shop online, spending on average € 900 per year. Moreover, more than the 60% transactions are cross-border: UE, US and China lead the Top-3.
Its growth potential can be prompted by some aspect anyone thinking on approaching Spanish ecommerce should take into consideration :
- Improvement in logistics
- Take an advantage of the lower cost for online marketing
- Customer acceptance of foreign W-shops
- Spanish consumers distrust on websites, so offering a secure payment method is a must. Paypal is the favorite of more than half of buyers
- Spain is the European leader in mobile usage, and keeps growing
- Spain is the best gateway to test Portugal and Latin American countries
The bilateral relationship between China and Spain is one of our tasks. Thanks to our understanding of the market, in 2 Open we can help you boost your digital business.
Leverage the benefits both countries offer to your company,
10 Things you Need to Know to Build a Chinese Website (Part 2)
In the first part of this article, we showed and identified 5 main points that differentiate a Chinese website from its western counterpart that we need to keep in mind in order to build a good one.
Let us summarize some of the main points addressed in the previous article:
- The style, design and structure are more complex and with much more information in opposition to the cleanness of the western websites
- Where to host your Chinese website is one of the first decisions to make. The most of the times we advise you to have a hosting in China. For that you will need a Chinese company to apply for an Internet Content Provider (ICP License)
- The Chinese Great Firewall blocks all websites that do not meet the content requirements that marks the Chinese government
- Your website needs to be ready to integrate with the main Chinese players. Google, Facebook and friends are banned in China; instead you will need to use the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent).
After this little updating, we would like to further develop this post showing you 5 more crucial things to take in consideration when building a good Chinese website.
When building a chinese website, What else should I know?
6 – CHINA IS MOBILE. BE RESPONSIVE
Adapting our website to mobile is very important in any country, but in China is mandatory.
The Smartphone is, in many cases, the only way they have to access the Internet. Therefore Chinese users are much more familiar with the use of mobile devices. Keep in mind that almost the 50% of all Ecommerce transactions made in 2015 were done via mobile, compared to the also quite high 22% in the United States.
Don’t think any longer and start working on a nice mobile design… Mobile first!
7 – DOMAIN. WHICH ONE IS THE RIGHT OPTION FOR ME
In your approach to domains, three are the main options:
– Not that long ago, to have a .CN was a must. It was not possible to get it if you didn’t have a Chinese legal entity. This has changed over the time and now you can easily get a .cn domain, no matter where your company comes from, just providing a copy of your Company’s ID. As the Chinese international top level domain, your brand might be perceived as having a strong presence in China and might also bring some trust
– On the other hand, we have the .COM domain. Chinese Internet users are increasingly getting used to this domain. Major Ecommerce platforms like Tmall.com, JD.com or Sunning.com may bear much of the blame for this. It can be very good for foreign companies trying to sell their products in the Asian giant to have a .com domain as it might help to highlight the international feel of the brand
– .COM.CN is the ugly duckling in the middle still in use by many brands mixing the good things from the previous mentioned domains, but without reaching their full advantages. In any case it can also be a good solution.
Which language should I use?
Another point to think about is the language to be used. Does your brand have a Chinese name? Then you can also use its pinyin term. Pinyin is the romanization system for standard Chinese: Chinese search engines recognise the pinyin words in the URL and then link them to what they stand for in Chinese characters in order for the website not to lose coherence.
Don’t get crazy about the domain, they are usually not that expensive. So, in case you can afford it, try to get the three of them (.com, .cn and .com.cn), plus their pinyin variants and redirect them to the main one; depending on your strategy.
8 – CONTENT. DON’T GET LOST IN TRANSLATION
It is important to know very well your main target markets as the language will differ depending on it. It might be obvious to mention it, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a company’s target consumer is in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macao and the language used for the website translation was simplified Chinese instead of traditional Chinese and the other way around. That is a major and silly mistake that takes a long time to revert.
I don’t want to mention either the fact that a Google translated web does not help at all, but I am doing it because I have seen too many. It is mandatory to let a professional team take care of the translations. In 2 Open we separate this process in three parts:
- Translation, interpreting the main message that the customer wants to transmit to the final customer, done by a marketing professional in our team
- External review, done by a professional translator outside the team
- Final review, done by another marketing professional in our team
You might not believe it, but in certain cases we still get minor complaints. This is because Chinese language can be interpreted in many different ways. Therefore translations are always a difficult point in the list.
Is Customization a mandatory requirement?
Let’s not forget about the Chinese cultural customization. Website localization embraces translating and localizing a site into different languages making sure all content (text, images and videos) is translated correctly in an accurate, cultural and technical manner.
As stated before when talking about content, we are also talking about images and videos. There are no written rules and it has similarities to the domain section we discussed above. There are brands like Nike or Zara that prefer to maintain their international feel using western models in their multimedia strategy. Many young Chinese users welcome this method, but not all of them. Depends on the strategy you want to follow.
9 – PAYMENT OPTIONS. CREDIT CARDS? NO, THANKS
In the previous post, we wrote about the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent). In China, the online payments market is currently dominated by two of these two tech giants – Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat payment with 49.2% and 20% market share respectively.
These companies try to increase their market share by adding more brands and merchants within their ecosystem; something that both companies effectively handle. Also cash is king, as cash on delivery holds a strong position. The fast and vast adoption of electronic payments via mobile is likely to counter this trend in due time.
It is actually China and not the US at the leading edge of the trends towards mobile payments technology. Just for putting an example, both WeChat and Alipay have long used the now famous QR codes to let Chinese netizens pay for purchases and transfer money. It seems they have jumped over some natural technological development processes. This kind of behaviours can be quite normal in undeveloped countries that start to grow very rapidly.
What happened is that they adopted the mobile payment technologies even before implementing some existing ones as a huge percentage of the Chinese population accesses the Internet via mobile devices.
Get ready to integrate Alipay in your website as first and mandatory option. And seeing how fast Tencent WeChat payment is growing, that would be your second natural option.
10 – SEO
Once your website is ready, you will need to submit it to Baidu creating a Baidu Webmaster Tools account (only available in Chinese). That way Baidu will be able to index the site properly and your great Chinese adventure starts!
Search engine optimization done in Baidu is not so very different as the one you could do for Google. Anyway, we would like to note a few differences I think you need to know:
– Meta description – unlike Google and Bing, Baidu still uses Meta descriptions as a ranking factor. Keyword targeted description match users’ queries and their demands, which would help with the click through rate (CTR).
– Indexation – Baidu’s web crawling bot, Baiduspider, is not as advanced as the one from Google. As a result, you will need to help Baiduspider to discover and index your pages in different ways. Without mentioning that you can go to sleep and wake up with huge traffic losses or de-indexed pages usually caused by a penalization. Be careful what you do!
– Link building – On Baidu, it is not about the quality of the publishers’ website, it is more about the unique relevancy of the content (as it relates to your content) and the quantity of links to your pages. Baidu penalizes duplicate content and it also disallows irrelevancy. Authority and quality of the publisher is not that important (for now). In short, the more the merrier as long as it is not duplicate.
– Baidu services – Baidu offers a lot of different products apart of Search; use them and leverage their integrated marketing power. The most useful are Baidu Zhidao (questions and answers service) and Baidu Baike (Wiki service), but there are tons of other services that might be helpful to increase brand awareness and for content creation.
As for the tracking, most people use Baidu Tongji and/or Google Analytics. Yes, you read it well; Google Analytics still works in China and it is the only Google service that still does. You will find many detractors, but for what we have seen there is no huge discrepancies between the data collected by both systems (usually not higher than 5%). And Google Analytics has more functionalities than Baidu Tongji.
It is also important to mention the typography. Chinese language is not easy to read due to the difficulty associated to its typography. With 40,000 characters, they are divided in strokes which amount can vary between 1 and 60. Therefore the font size should be at least 12px.
At 2 Open, we would be pleased to help you.Take the advantages the Chinese market offers.
With the cooperation of our Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Agency, China will be at your fingertips.
Do not hesitate to visit us We´d loved to hear from you!
This article has been edited by Paula Vicuña, from 2 Open.
Networking in China: Guanxi for Business
Have you ever heard about Guanxi?
This post seeks to provide practical guidelines to Companies on how to handle business interaction between Chinese and Foreign parties to ensure business agreements.
While doing a Market Research, Companies should be aware of some of the basic particularities which can condition their success or failure.
To develop an appropriate strategy of internationalization, it would be necessary to analyze some of the key-factors which can be decisive. Due to deep social differences among East and West, in China the importance of personal connections is crucial.
Major differences in negotiating with Chinese firms face many challenges which can eventually destroy a future profitable relationship.
Throughout this article we will make special mention of the term Guanxi.
Guanxi is essential for successfully doing business in China. The term is used to refer to a mutual trust between both parties, based on a long-lasting and reciprocal personal relationship.
Guanxi connections in China
There are some Chinese thinking patterns you should take into consideration before starting your business in the country:
- The importance of interpersonal relationships in business, terms specially related to hierarchy and reciprocity concepts.
- The effectiveness of moral over legal practices
- Prestige and public standing to guarantee the Face
In your approach to establish a networking, patience will be required in all the stages: to generate trust, to select the accurate network and to invest in a lasting relationship.
Why is Guanxi so important?
In China, economy is still strongly based on relationships. Trust remains the basis for economic transactions between Chinese people.
Therefore, Guanxi is a particularly valuable resource and becomes an essential facilitator of trade and economic transactions.
Three are the cornerstones on which to build Guanxi:
- A common social identity
- The existence of a third party in common
- A common aspiration of collaboration to create the potential bases for relationship
Chinese people do not show loyalty to the company, but to their personal relations
Networking can make the difference: eventually, right relationships will move your business faster in future.
But Guanxi also implies more traditional concepts to put it in practice:
- Mianzi: The care of positive prior appearances
- Renqing: Reciprocal favors as a moral obligation
- Ganqing: Emotional and enduring commitments that comes from the intimate social ties
The importance of an intermediary as a business enabler
Usually called Zhongjian Ren, the Intermediary deals with both parties to settle the differences in order to achieve a better solution to each problem.
Because Companies with best Guanxi win, having a proper Intermediary to represent your company can facilitate the business dealing and establish a successful business in Chinese market.
In search of Guanxi experience?
In 2 Open, we have the expertise you need to boost your Company to take advantage of the Asian market.
2 Open keeps growing in Europe with our new office
The 2 Open family keeps growing in order to continue adding value to our customers within the global business world in which we live. China and Europe are now connected with four powerful offices (Shanghai, Weihai, Madrid and Cáceres) that clearly represent what we are and where we want to go; it represents the future and our origins making sure they align with our goals and our customers’ needs.
A business is like a living organism; it has a beginning, an end, and in between goes through a lot of stages that make the difference between success and failure. 2 Open is undergoing one of these stages in which we have decided to grow our organization in Europe to help your business development in China. What we are trying here, is to do the best we can at each and every stage and always think about what we have done, about the errors and successes, about the good and bad decisions, about the loyal partners and the ones that were not loyal, about the people who have accompanied us, learning from all these factors in order to, not only improve and grow as a business, but also as individuals.
I write these lines from our new office. Located in the heart of the Spanish capital, Madrid. It is a three floor co-working space that was an old factory back in the 20’s. Each floor has a 420 square meters open-plan area with huge windows, 5 meters high ceilings and decorated in modern style. We have a meeting room, photography/video studio, reception, relaxing area, and a huge space to do events; we want to organize an event related to China digital industry very soon and you will be more than welcome to assist.
Co-working is a global movement based on a simple concept: professionals from different sectors, freelancers, entrepreneurs and businessmen, share the same physical space to work on their own projects. But co-working is not only about sharing costs and breaking the isolation, it is also about belonging to a community of individuals who are open to exchange ideas, projects, knowledge, and most importantly, they are willing to collaborate. Co-working spaces are sprouting all over the planet; it is a global movement that is changing the way we work and the way we interact in workspaces. Co-working spaces are a reflection of the emergence of new models and new expectations in the business world and society in general, and 2 Open, is definitely going to leverage the advantages of these positive features. We will collaborate to get fresh and innovative ideas, resulting from interactions with other co-workers.
Come and visit us in our brand new office. We will be glad to chat with you about our passion: DIGITAL MARKETING IN CHINA and HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR MARKETING AND SALES in the Chinese online market.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo Olson from 2 Open.