China’s second-tier cities

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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