Doing BusinessBusiness in China

Chinese Market Insights

China is not only an economic superpower but one of the most diverse and exciting countries to do business in the world today. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a new set of unexpected challenges for the Chinese market.

Enterprise Ireland is responding to the global crisis by working with Irish exporters to help them avail of business response supports announced by the Government. These supports are designed to help businesses stabilise and adapt to the evolving situation, in preparation for getting back on the road to recovery.

Market Overview

China is not only an economic superpower but one of the most diverse and exciting countries to do business in the world today. In recent years, China’s economy has grown in both size and international importance and the country has transformed into the world’s largest manufacturing economy and exporter of goods.

The ambitions of both Chinese government and the private sector to improve competitiveness is driving demand for foreign technology and expertise to satisfy gaps in the domestic market. As the economy expands beyond investment and manufacturing, the opportunities for Irish enterprises are ever on the increase.

1.39bn Population

€13.6tn GDP (2018)

6.3% GDP Growth for 2019

Get Export Ready

China is a vastly diverse country, with wide geographic variations in language, ethnicity, industrial speciality and level of development. The wealthiest cities, such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, rival many European cities in modernity. But driving a few hours into the countryside will reveal that China is still very much a developing country.

China’s transport infrastructure has experienced major growth in recent years, with comprehensive air and rail networks facilitating travel between cities. Hainan Airlines launched the first direct flight between Dublin and Beijing in June while Southern China is serviced by a direct flight from Dublin to Hong Kong operated by Cathay Pacific.

Key Market Sectors

As Brexit plans progress, Irish businesses are exploring export options in sectors across the Eurozone markets, the USA and Canada and APAC region.

Enterprise Ireland is playing a key role in supporting ambitious companies seeking opportunities in China’s ICT, medtech and pharma sectors.

Additionally, education, agritech and equine continue to perform and add appeal to Irish exporters and service providers who want to scale, and develop a presence in the Chinese market.

Read more on China’s sectoral successes in our Going Global Guide.

  • China currently has the world’s largest e-commerce market.
  • China is the largest mobile phone market in the world.
  • China accounts for 42.9% of the Asia-Pacific aerospace and defence sector.

Doing Business

Building good business relationships takes time in China. Many businessmen emphasise interpersonal relationships as key to successful business there.

Standard Chinese, which is a form of Mandarin Chinese, is the official national spoken language. Approximately 390 million people in China either speak English or are in the process of learning it.

Open conflict is usually avoided, as it would cause one party to ‘lose face’. ‘Giving face’ is as important as not taking it away. Actions such as politely ignoring a mistake, showing humility and giving a toast are all ways of showing courtesy to Chinese partners.

Routes to Market

Choosing the right route to market is very important.

Agents bring a deep understanding of local business practices and distributors can deliver products geographically across large nations. Joint ventures and acquisitions bring valuable established contacts, customers and market knowledge. Local representatives may not always be necessary with many global markets open to direct sales and prospecting from Ireland. Other markets require a ‘boots on the ground’ approach – the power of referrals and networking shouldn’t be underestimated.

The key routes to market in China are online selling solutions, direct presence, outsourcing sales or joint ventures, and mergers. Download our Going Global Guide to China to find out more.

Before You Go

Before you go, we recommend you invest some time in researching the terrain before you explore the Chinese market. Here’s a few starting points to consider…

  1. Market Landscape
  2. Market Trends
  3. Target Market
  4. Market Segmentation
  5. Market Competition
  6. Market Research Resources

Visa requirements, Chinese labour laws, import rules and regulations, key taxes, and data and intellectual property protection are also addressed in the Going Global Guide. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre offers client companies access to market intelligence in the form of company, sector, market, and country information to explore opportunities and compete in international markets.

Helping You Succeed

We are committed to helping you succeed in global markets and have an immense wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Chinese market.

Enterprise Ireland assists clients entering new markets with pre-visit support, in-market support, international trade events, additional supports and access to mentors.

Our Market Advisers are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.