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China’s second-tier cities

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I recently retired as UK senior partner of BDO after 23 years as a partner with the firm. Last year, I took up a position as visiting professor at Xiamen University, China. My wife is Chinese and I decided to spend three months exploring business opportunities in the region and trying to learn some Mandarin.
I’m blogging about my experiences in China for Real Business ? catch up on my journey so far.

China’s vastness means that one size will never fit all for this country. 

According to a recent report, (Opportunities for UK businesses in China’s Regional Cities produced for UK Trade & Investment by the China-Britain Business Council and the Centre for International Business University of Leeds, 2011): 

“In addition to the four major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen there are another 270 cities in China with a population in excess of one million. Across these highly populated cities the heterogeneity in economic growth, operational costs, competitiveness in local B2B and B2C markets, local government support and policy momentum provide both opportunities and challenges for firms.  

In addition to the usual challenges for a successful overseas market entry, finding the right channel to market (which, in China, for B2C, increasingly means e-tailing) and the right people to work with locally are crucial.

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