Dr. Mathew McDougall is CEO of Reach China and he is also known to be an expert in doing business with China. As Australia’s trade relationship with China is growing by the day, it now includes large scale exports of resources through to everyday items which small and medium-size Aussie businesses are ideally placed to provide.
“China represents a huge opportunity for Aussie SMEs,” McDougall said. “We import over $62 billion worth of goods from China and export over $93 billion dollars worth of goods and services to China.
“It is really a matter of preparing well and taking the right steps,” Dr McDougall said. He has put together seven key steps Australian businesses should follow if they want to export to China.
- Work with an experienced export consultant to help you in your journey. A good export consultant will assist you to work through all steps of the process. This is essential to ensure you are making the right decisions and doing the right things. This avoids putting money in the wrong places and minimising mistakes.
- Ensure your product is suitable for the Chinese market and that there is a demand for your product.
While this may seem straight forward, China is a big country with different markets. Be clear about what part of the market you are targeting and the potential for sales and growth. The more unique and high quality, the more appealing the product will be.
- Get to know Chinese culture
Get to know the market to which you are seeking to export. Find out what products are doing well and why. Understand their social media platforms such as WeChat and how they engage and shop. A little research goes a long way.
- Grow awareness of your products in the Australian market first to build brand credibility and trust in China
Chinese consumers buy brands based on reputation, trust and credibility. If your brand is known in Australia and has a good reputation, then the Chinese are more likely to buy your product in or from China.
- Build a sound online presence through a good website and social media
Chinese consumers are very internet savvy and research products before they buy. They also rely on reviews. Having a strong online presence ensures your brand is well represented and findable on the internet.
- IP and branding
Protecting your IP is important, not only in Australia but overseas. Ensure your products are clearly branded and IP registered in Australia and that the branding has no conflicts with any existing brands known or registered in China.
- Be patient, flexible and scalable
Many businesses have achieved explosive growth exporting to China, while others have found the journey a bit more slow going. Regardless, it is important to ensure that you are taking the right steps and are prepared for growth when it happens. Sometimes strategies and tactics need to be adjusted and this is normal, the key is to be patient and committed – and be ready when things do shift quickly.