Tips on Entering the Chinese Market for Korean Startups

Current Chinese Market

There is an upgrade happening in the Chinese market.  The middle class is now entering its second wave of upgrading.  We imagine the growth we’ve seen in the last 15 years and the prediction of growth is amplified a multiple of x for the next fifteen years.  Therefore that means the middle class is still growing very very heavily.  Companies that came to China early on like Samsung and Toyota, they invested early but they are starting to benefit from this upgrade to premium products that they thought they were marketing to people for 8-10 years ago.  But in actuality, they were building their brand for the future.  Which is now where they are starting to really be able to monetize and upgrade.

Korean Startups Looking to Enter China

So I do see that Korean products specifically do have a lot of opportunities in the future.  I know there are some challenges currently in regards to relationships.  However, I think consumers needs will outpace that.  If a product is needed, Chinese consumers will find it wherever it is at in the world.  Then they will begin to consume it.  Cross-border e-commerce is growing extremely fast.  Therefore it is a great opportunity for smaller companies to start in Korea or in other countries in Asia working with the Chinese market.  Then they will be able to understand how to operate and manage Tmall store which is where most of the transactions are happening.  It is also where most of the data is being stored.  So if you are a Saas company then you are really going to have to understand where to get your data from and how to use it.

Social Media Marketing in China

Small businesses in China are taking advantage of the social channels available in WeChat.  They are able to gain massive followers very quickly.  They are also able to do promotions.  Therefore, they are able to get a lot of attention in the media which drives more traffic to their stores.  Quite often now, retailers are needing to send in police because the retail shops are overtaken by customers coming in to purchase.  I know that is not just a phenomenon in China but because of social media now.  It is amplified, I believe by multiple times of x to drive consumption in that way for a limited time.

Attracting Global Talent to China

One trend I am seeing in China is with the universities.  A lot of the founders that are coming back to China have a lot of experience overseas and they will bring partners with them from the United States.  Those resources are being pulled into the Chinese market just as much as seeking it out.

Find the Right Partner in China

Don’t take the journey alone.  Find like-minded companies and ecosystems to get involved with depending on the scale, that is why it is difficult to give tips on entering the Chinese market because it all depends on the stage of your business itself and where you are at.  Partnering and openness and if you come with too much fear you will be paralyzed and you will not be able to move forward your business, so you are going to have to answer your biggest question that you have, the biggest fears that you have and get over them very quickly or understand how to work with them so you can operate or run your business in the China Market.

Rudy Wimmer
Rudy Wimmer

Since 2008, as the Managing Partner for CBi China Bridge, Rudy is responsible for empowering the organization to reach its full potential, strengthening the ability for the company to deliver beyond expectations. Creating and enabling the culture of China Bridge to drive our clients to “Their Next” through an insight-based approach to innovation and design strategy.

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