Misconceptions of Western Brands Entering China

Misconceptions of Western Brands Entering China

Top Challenges for Companies Trying to Navigate China Business

We’ve heard the saying, “the great things don’t come easy”. This will resonate with companies who try to establish a presence in China – the largest market in the world.

While China is viewed as a golden egg of opportunity, many Western companies are deterred from entering the market due to unique challenges. Witnessing failures of big corporations in China such as Google, M&S, Tesco and Amazon, discourages further. Sinowei offers services to break down these barriers and de-risk the route to market.

What are some of the key challenges?

Language Barriers

Unlike in Europe where companies are more likely to find common languages to communicate in, most people in China speak Mandarin. Western companies expecting to get anything done without the language or consistent translators will find navigating business almost impossible.

The added danger of not having accurate translation services at hand can result in translated brand names that are interpreted different to what they intend – or worse, could cause offense to Chinese consumers, customs or authorities.

Lack of Deep Understanding of the Market

The perception of China as an unsophisticated market has resulted in many failed strategies which showed little to no adaptation to needs of consumers. The frenzy of trying to enter China’s increasingly consumer-powered economy, created a vacuum of misplaced distribution and marketing of products that lacked functional value for the population.

Chinese Accreditations and Regulator Applications

Foreign companies often complain about China’s lengthy administrative customs system to legally be imported into the country and sold to Chinese consumers. GACC, AQSIQ, CIQ, SAMR, Trademarking, Back Label Registration – all to be approved by Chinese authorities.

Travel Restrictions

The impact of Covid-19 has been felt around the world – but it created even more restraints on those wishing to do business in China. China’s zero-covid policy made it virtually impossible for most people to enter the country without doing at least a week of strict quarantine since 2020.

Building relationships (guanxi) and networking in China is essential for a successful business venture – but the shift to almost entirely virtual communication makes this difficult. While restrictions were eased in January 2023, many companies will struggle to restart these relationships without sufficient time and financial investment.

Additional Challenges for Companies Trying to Enter China

  • Currency Exchange
  • Brand / IP Protection
  • Contrasting Business Structures
  • Lack of Offline Touch Points
  • Unfamiliarity with China’s unique social media ecosystem
  • Ignorance of Chinese Symbolism and Beliefs

Without a physical presence in the country, companies are advised to find a reliable partner for China who understands the language, culture and can help navigate business opportunities.

Sinowei is an international trading company based in Shanghai China, with offices across the UK and EU. Our team have spent several years working on solutions which de-risk China importing and exporting, accessible to business across the UK and Europe. Explore your business opportunities with China by booking a free consultation with a member of the Sinowei team. 




RCEP Shangdong Import Expo 2022 – Complete

RCEP Shangdong Import Expo 2022 – Complete

One good thing about Summer drawing to an end – is the return to business as usual! Sinowei Shanghai have just wrapped up their first show in months. Having endured months of strict Covid lockdowns and restrictions, Hunter and Rayna did an amazing job representing our client brands in Linyi City!

Located in the southeast of Shandong, Linyi City is one of the two “free-trade zones” in the province. As a result, RCEP hosted 400+ exhibitors and over 30,000 trade fair visitors.

To launch your brand into the world’s largest consumer market, visit our website to discover our trade fairs throughout Mainland China.

Export Bottled Water to CHINA

Export Bottled Water to CHINA

In a country that accounts for twenty-percent of the world’s population but only seven-percent of its fresh water supply, it’s no surprise that China is the largest bottled water market.

Three key driving factors for this are;
(1) Water pollution and several water scandals in the food and beverage sector
(2) Expansion of China’s middle-class
(3) Growing emphasis of water benefits and healthy lifestyles

Despite China’s shift to e-commerce platforms, the majority of bottled water sales are offline. However, it’s expected to move with the trend and predicts a ten-percent growth for online sales by 2023. In the interim, brands are still expected to promote themselves online to increase visibility and engage with consumers.

While the industry is largely dominated by domestic brands, consumer trust is diminishing due to the country’s numerous water contaminations seen in the last two decades. Foreign imported brands have always been viewed as ‘premium’ water which is now working in their favour.

This is presenting a real opportunity for international brands to hone in on. The most successful brands have a distinctive bottle design and demonstrate they are “eco-responsible” in their practice.

If you have a quality water brand that you’d like to export to China, get in touch with a member of our team and we’ll be happy to help.

T: +44 02890233642
E: sarah@sinowei.co.uk

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