Capitalizing on the Chinese E-Commerce Boom

3-28-2016 | by Benjamin Fleshman

Over the last several years, the Chinese economy has grown to become one of the leading economies in the world. Their rapid growth rate has stunned economists worldwide, and they’re only continuing to grow.

One of the main components to this is their impressive handling of e-commerce. According to China Internet Watch, the “China e-commerce market reached 15 trillion yuan (or $2.3 trillion US) in 2015.” There is an ever growing market for e-commerce in China, and your company needs to be taking advantage of this opportunity.

Here are a few things to do, and a few not to do, when trying to break into the China market.

Localize, Don’t Translate

I’m sure that we have all seen those poorly translated advertisements, packaging, and signs on the internet. If you haven’t, they aren’t hard to find, they’ll give you a good laugh, and teach you a powerful lesson.

Some words do not translate across languages, and some connotations do not come across well in different cultures. I’ve seen some “Caution: Slippery When Wet” signs translated into “Please Slip and Fall Carefully.” That’s a world of difference.

Grammatical structures vary, and even for someone who knows the language well as a second language, it will still be difficult to get the message across perfectly. Use a local business to help you convey the perfect meaning for your company. The local business can also tell you if your product would be well received, culturally acceptable, or if it would be a total flop. Always localize.

Be Mobile Friendly

If your company isn’t mobile friendly, then you had better change that right now. According to a 2014 Forbes study, 80% of Chinese consumers who bought online in 2014 made at least one purchase from a smartphone, and 20% purchase online weekly from a mobile device. The numbers are only going up as an increasingly tech-savvy generation comes of age.

They expect to be able to use mobile means to purchase virtually anything, and they are at tough crowd to please. Nearly 80% of consumers surveyed by Forbes gave a review following an online purchase, and many more than that thoroughly researched products before buying it.

A mobile portal won’t replace your on-site location or regular website, however. It will be something to augment it, and attract more consumers. Mobile apps are even more effective when you have an excellent website and store location to accompany them.

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Become Familiar with Chinese Internet Sites

Remember that China has its own unique websites, some of which are very similar to our own. Sites like Alibaba, TMall, Taobao, and JD are popular B2C sites in China. Become familiar with the requirements for each, such as the fact that TMall requires to own licenses for the products sold on their website in order to reduce fake products. As a business license is required during registration, only actual companies are allowed to sell their products on TMall.

It’s worth the hassle, though, because TMall and Alibaba are some of the leading online marketing sites in the world. They would be the equivalent of the western eBay and Amazon marketplaces.

Manage Your Documents Online

To ease the process of transitioning into a different market, use an online contract management system to manage your documents effectively. Electronic signatures are valid in China, so you can sign deals and contracts with Chinese e-commerce sites from the comfort of your own home or office.

Using a secure system, such as Concord Worldwide, will decrease the time that you spend drafting, negotiating, and slogging through the terms of a contract with a Chinese business. It’s all done online, and you can collaborate effectively and sign when you’re done.

Online management systems also have tools to track your sales, deadlines, and any other transactions that you may have. Utilizing this tool will make your transition into the Chinese market smoother, easier, and more effective.