What you need to know about doing business with China

China is the 3th largest country in the world and it’s one of the most popular countries for exporters. It’s predicted that Chinese consumer spending will rise from $2.03 trillion in 2010 to $6.18 trillion annually in 2020. China will be the top global luxury market at $245 billion. What’s more, according to the American Chamber of Commerce, 79% of all foreign companies in China make money.

Western companies are known for their quality goods, which is why it is attracting so many new businesses. So, what do you need to know before you start doing business in China?

Protect your investment

Copyrights and trademarks are treated differently in China to the EU. Whether you have protected your investment in the UK, you’ll still need to do the same before you take your product or service to the Chinese market.

Tip: Find a Chinese IP (intellectual property) specialist to set everything in motion before you begin any conversations or negotiations in China.

Understand the culture

Something as simple as exchanging business cards carries much more weight in China than it does in the UK and the West. It is customary to exchange cards using both hands and with a slight bow in thanks. Following this, you should place it in front of you, later transferring it to a wallet or pocket once the meeting is over. To maximise exposure and as a sign of respect, think about creating a double-sided business card – one side in English and the other in Chinese.

Another small gesture that could be misconstrued is the handshake. Chinese business professionals who have not been exposed to it may be offended, so read the situation and your audience well, unless you know for sure they’re accustomed to this etiquette.

Build personal relationships

In China, it’s all about trust – Before you even get to doing any kind of business. It’s likely that your Chinese contacts and partners will want to get to know you on a personal level, which is something you should embrace as it’ll lead to long term business success. Further to this, you’ll often find that more business is done over a lunch or dinner than an official “meeting”. Food plays a very important role in Chinese society and life. So, be sure to make time available to build relationships and to do business in a different way.

Choose your words wisely

If you know in advance that there’ll be a language barrier, invest in a top-level translator who knows your product, your needs and your negotiation strategy. What’s more, it’d be worth learning a few basic Mandarin words to impresses your prospective Chinese business partner.

Find the right money transfer provider

The World Bank states that China receives the most remittances, globally. Of course, there are numerous ways to send money to China, however, you want to ensure you use the quickest, safest and most economical way to do it. As such, it’s recommended you use an online money transfer service such as that from Imperial FX. Online providers have lower overheads and are therefore generally cheaper, which means even better exchange rates and cheaper fees than a bank.

There are restrictions

If you’re sending money to China, it’s important to check with the recipient whether the currency they’re receiving the money in is allowed to accept transfers.

Competition in the Chinese market is stiff, but there are still deals to be done. Local Chinese businesses are on the search for new and innovative business strategies, so, what’s holding you back?