Over the past decade, China has become a veritable economic powerhouse. The Chinese market has helped to launch and grow hundreds of UK businesses and, despite the current widespread media debate around the state of the Chinese economy, it is still registering a healthy rate of growth and there are still huge opportunities for UK entrepreneurs in China. Here, I list the five most important things that all entrepreneurs should know about China in 2016, so that they can successfully break into the market.
- Make the most of positive Sino-British trade relations
Networking groups like these can provide UK entrepreneurs and SMEs with the knowledge and connections needed to take those first steps to break into the Chinese market or to tap into investment from the region.
- Make sure your business operates in the right sectors
This means that there is a particularly strong opening in the market for UK businesses with established brands or new technology. Media companies, especially those in entertainment and technology, are extremely well placed to benefit from Chinese investment or potential joint ventures. Equally, financial services firms and property development businesses are well-positioned to secure interest from the Chinese market.
- Learn about the Chinese market and the country’s unique business culture
I would recommend travelling to China as much as possible to learn about the culture and the unique way of conducting business. While there, seek out the opportunities where UK SMEs can partner with existing Chinese ventures, including those supporting China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is set to link China to at least 65 countries. Establishing a strategic partnership is the easiest way to initially enter the market.
- Make sure you’re prepared
China has 14 cities that are home to over 5 million inhabitants and a total population of over 1.3 billion. As such, it is important not to underestimate how difficult it can be to crack the market. This said, with perseverance, it may well turn out to be the best business decision you make as an entrepreneur.
- 2017 could be an even better year for UK business in China
By Dr Johnny Hon, Anglo-Chinese entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Founder of Global Group