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CHINA is a huge market of 1.4 billion people.

It has the largest population in the world although could soon be overtaken by India.

Only Russia and Canada are larger in geographic area.

China also has a growing middle class with money to spare and aspirations for a western lifestyle.

Experts predict it is on the way to replacing the United States of America as the biggest economy in

the world.

So, it is a big target market, offering huge opportunities. But that does not make it an easy market to

enter, and the most basic advice is to get help from people who know the country and have

experience working in and selling into China.

This is probably the first thing for any business looking at China to consider.

The market is huge and so there is a very big cake but there are a lot of others wanting a slice of that


There is also a language barrier and cultural issues that need to be considered and understood.

Hence the value of advice and experience.

Whilst they can move quickly, the culture of China is collective decision making and so decisions can

take a long time and so patience and perseverance are important. Doing business with China has

been likened to ‘pealing and onion,’ think you have finished and then there is another layer to deal


Being polite and showing respect are integral to the culture but never forget they are savvy

businesspeople, and tough negotiators.

China is so big that it is usually best not to think of it as a single country but to target an area or

province. Even some of the smaller provinces will be much bigger than the United Kingdom.

It is important to make sure that trademarks are registered and if appropriate patents and

intellectual property protected.

There are different models for businesses selling into China. Export is one and alternatives include

joint ventures with Chinese businesses or having your product made in China under license.

China is the factory of the world, and it will be very hard, if not impossible to sell into China on price


So quality is very important and the Chinese like the ‘made in Britain’ brand.

Whilst the vast expanse of China includes many villages where time will appear to have stood still, it

is a nation with a growing and increasingly affluent middle class, living in some of the largest and

most advanced cities in the world like Shanghai (pictured above).

So, with the right product there are huge opportunities but don’t expect it to be easy, do the

research and get people on side who know the country and can offer expert advice.

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