Since China started its reform and opening policy in 1978, its economy has expanded rapidly, and leading international retailers and manufacturers have entered the China market since. However some foreign companies are still hesitant to enter the market because they do not understand Chinese consumers and their shopping habits, let alone the complicated legal and tax considerations one has to deal with. Despite the country’s rapid economic rise, China’s regions have developed at different rates, and consumer trends vary greatly among different demographics and regions. Understanding the preferences and mindset of consumer groups is the key to successfully expanding a B2B or B2C business.
Before China opened its market to foreign investment, commodity availability was limited. Department stores, state-owned distribution points and wet markets dominated the marketplace. International exporters and retailers were allowed to enter the market in 1992, but only if they held a non-controlling stake in a joint venture with a local company. This seminar will explain the habits of consumers today and provide a detailed analysis of the variety of distribution channels available to international importers and retailers today – from hypermarkets to shopping malls to wet markets and online stores. Choosing the right channel can be critical to business success in China.