The Five Things Successful NZ Executives Get Right About China.
Are you trying to build a robust China strategy to catapult your product to 1.4 billion consumers? Having problems deciding where to start? Whether it is about understanding the fundamentals like China policy and regulation or simply figuring out the best way to promote your brand in China, there are 5 consistent themes that can help get you on the right path to a powerful China strategy.
Being an executive working with China requires a keen understanding of the difference in culture and consumer experience between the Far East and the Western world. I’m lucky enough to meet some of the most inspirational New Zealand executives on a daily basis who have maturity in the China market across education, travel, export, insurance and software.
These Kiwis not only offer the best insights into how to work with China but at the same time are so incredibly rewarding to be able to engage with on a regular basis. Regardless of your industry here are 5 trends that are pillars to successful trade:
1. Don’t get left behind in a mobile-obsessed world
Creating a satisfying customer experience is the key goal for every business to achieve. But doing business within China you may need to be a little bit more careful. No one had ever imagine that China would become the global leader in mobile enabled experiences in only a short period of five years’ . Chinese consumers use their mobiles to communicate, shop, invest, book, hire, travel more than any other consumer group in the world. In 2016 Chinese mobile retail accounted for USD $4.8 trillion worth of transactions eclipsing the US.
Ignore this highly mobile trend in Chinese consumerism and small business at your peril.
Your digital assets, payment, communication, messaging all need to be mobile-optimised.
Many Kiwi e-commerce businesses know that less than 1/5 of Chinese e-commerce transactions in 2016 were through credit cards. Most Chinese e-commerce purchases were through mobile optimised payment e-wallets such as the Mega apps WeChat, Alipay, Baidu or online banking from the main Chinese banks.
Not offering the above mobile payment types for your Chinese consumers is like offering cheques in your online store as the only payment method for your western consumers. If you’re overwhelmed by these foreign payment types you’ve never heard of, no worries! Luckily there is an Auckland based FinTech company called LatiPay that offers all of the above payment types through a powerful API that is easy to integrate.
2. Compliance is King!
There would not be many executive’s working with China that would not put compliance at the top of their “get this right” list.
Whether logistics, immigration, product type or payments, understanding the rules first and foremost forms the foundation of any great business interaction with China. When engaging with a third party service provider be sure that China compliance is the first question you ask.
Getting paid by your consumers isn’t black and white unless you’re dealing with a trusted entity that is transparent about how they meet compliance and regulatory requirements for both NZ and China.
Understand the rules and regulations, and get it right the first time.
3. Stay prepared for the volumes that will come your way
Speak to any “China Mature” Kiwi executive and you will always hear just how fast things can move when doing business with China. In fact one of the biggest challenges of working with China is that things can suddenly move too fast.
One of the most common things I hear from NZ exporters selling their product to China is you need to ensure you have inventory ready, logistics lines open and a platform that can handle large spikes in purchases.
Supply chain and capital chain therefore can be critical. Something as simple as waiting 5-7 days to receive payments through traditional channels before shipping can be a business killer for NZ merchants. Before you start, you want to ensure that you can receive funds in real-time so that you can release goods or services immediately.
Chinese consumers or small businesses will not wait around for you, and delays are small daggers in your brand quality in China.
4. “Kiwi-Inc” is your trump card
One secret trend that Kiwi executives working with China know is that Chinese consumers are flocking to New Zealand based e-commerce websites. In China, “made in New Zealand” is the sticker that guarantees authenticity of goods as well as confidence that Kiwi-made products and services are of the highest quality.
Even twelve months ago growing business in China presented more than a few challenges. For product type of business, logistics routes were immature, making and receiving payments was extremely complex while communication channels were fragmented. For tourism business, payments could be extremely painful as you have to consider the time gap between each transaction and receiving funds.
Now through new payment methods such as WeChat, New Zealand businesses can communicate to over 650 million daily active users, strong Kiwi logistics companies can now provide rapid shipping and businesses such as the New Zealand based LatiPay can provide a frictionless payment experience on your online store that enables your consumers to pay the way they want to pay.
5. Smart payment technology is the way to go
It’s already tricky enough trying to figure out how to translate your product offering into Mandarin or finding the best channel to promote your brand in China. Why does paying and receiving payments have to be so complicated and slow with hidden fees throughout the process? Isn’t electronic money the same in China as it is in NZ?
Smart payment technology can spare you the pain which means no more complexity in receiving compliant cross-border Chinese Yuan payment.