Opportunities for western businesses in China

We are going to explore the opportunities for western businesses in China in this blog post. China is the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP and by purchasing power parity after the United States. It is the world’s fastest-growing emerging market with more than 1.3 billion population, both Western and Chinese companies are seeking opportunities to conduct business there. “We want to be truly global. We can’t be truly global unless we’re in China, and this is the start of that journey.” UK online clothing retailer ASOS chief executive Nick Robertson said. (source: TheGuardian)


Opportunities for western businesses in China

Based on the reports from some authorities, there is a very strong opportunity in China within the following industries.


1. Retail, especially luxury goods

According to UK Trade and Investment, China’s domestic consumption will grow rapidly in the next five to ten years. Chinese consumers, especially the growing middle class, are becoming more and more brand and quality-conscious. In their eyes, western brands mean good quality and fashion. On the other hand, affluent Chinese consumers are increasing and have a very positive attitude towards luxury goods which are symbols of good taste, wealth, success and social status.

However, western retail brands are either underinvested in digital marketing in China, or don’t have a presence in China’s market on the digital world yet.


2. Travel

According to China Tourism Academy, travel is the biggest hobby of nearly 90% of wealthy people in China, which shows Chinese high-end tourism market is very optimistic and prospective for development in the future. 68% of wealthy people overseas travel costs per person over £5,000.

The opportunities are the top destinations for Chinese wealthy people. Europe is the top destination. France ranked first in shopping destination, Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom are also the prefer shopping destinations. Favourite islands for wealthy Chinese people are the Maldives, followed by Hawaii.


3. Education

Education in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and other developed countries is viewed as a reputation for excellence. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for universities, colleges and schools to attract Chinese students. Although many universities, colleges and schools have agencies in China, they haven’t exploited the opportunities available through digital marketing in China. One particular idea to extend their presence would be to develop a micro Chinese website with Chinese search engine optimisation (SEO), use Pay-Per-Click advertising on Baidu – the largest search engine in China, and create social media campaigns.


4. Real Estate

Chinese property buyers switch from Hong Kong to Thailand, the US and London, according to Financial Times. The Chinese buyers, spending $9 billion on investing in houses in the US during the 12 months ended 31 March 2012, are the second largest foreign investors in the US housing after Canadian. This is a great opportunity for the real estate industry that can offer good properties to invest.


5. Healthcare

UKTI pointed out “There is growing awareness in China of the need to improve and modernise the existing healthcare system.” What are the opportunities for western companies in healthcare industry in China? Here they are: Design, construction and management of healthcare facilities; Investment in healthcare IT; Healthcare services consultancy and training; Innovation of medical equipment; Private health insurance providers; Medical research and development.


6. Food

There is a huge demand for western foods in China. Alongside the steady rise of the national economy, Chinese consumers are becoming more interested in the pursuit of a better quality of life and the importing of healthy and high quality western food has become an unstoppable trend. The US Food Industry Association forecasts that China will become the biggest consumer of global imported foods by 2018. Olive oil, chocolate, wine, coffee and cheese are five key growth categories in China. Western companies should seek to take advantage of such business opportunities.


7. Environmental technology

As China faces extreme environmental challenges, the Chinese government is looking to reduce the energy, water and waste in its manufacturing sector and aims to encourage the development of environment-friendly projects. Therefore it is an excellent opportunity for western environmental companies to export their advanced technologies and services to the Chinese market and to help China address its environmental problems.


In addition to the industries above,  there are more opportunities for western businesses in China, ie. automotive, energy, urbanisation, airports and aviation etc.

Why not keep up with the opportunities and start marketing your businesses to China? Where and how to start? That is what we will share with you in the next blog post  “6 Tips on marketing to Chinese consumers in the digital world“.

(Image source: “Crowd cheer China” | www.freedigitalphotos.net)