Doing Business in China - Guide

Shanghai Skyline

Our guide to doing business in China

Approached wisely, China is as uplifting as it is intriguing. The great economic success story of the past 30 years, China is now the world's largest economy, a huge and expanding market for UK businesses.

Benefits for your business

There are a number of reasons to choose China as an export destination:

  • It's the largest country in the world by population with over 160 cities of more than a million inhabitants.
  • It's the fastest growing consumer market, this is a result of the increasing number of middle income consumers.
  • Growth is ensured by the Chinese monetary policy.
  • Forecasted to become the world's largest luxury goods market by the year 2020.

Researching the Chinese market

When entering the Chinese market it is vital to know that it is not one single market, but there are different regional economies and economic hubs. To achieve in this market you will need to understand the regional economic and cultural differences that could impact the success of your product and then develop the right entry strategy. You should do as much market research and planning as possible before starting to sell your products and services in China, using both desk research and market visits. As the market is so complex you should also consider getting specialist market research help.

Look to determine whether:

  • there is a market for your product or service
  • your pricing is competitive
  • you need to localise your product
  • you need to adapt your business model


Language and Culture

In this vast country, sub-cultures and practices differ from place to place, Mandarin Chinese is the language of business. You should not assume Chinese firms will have English-speaking staff, a translator or interpreter is usually essential.

When visiting China you should always:

  • be careful with gestures as they can convey different meanings in China
  • avoid embarrassing your hosts as the Chinese do not like to say no directly
  • not be offended by personal questions relating to age, income or marital status
  • build close personal relationships to enable you to develop business partnerships


  • Are you interested in entering the Chinese market?

    Our locally based market specialists can offer you support ensuring that you tick every box before you take the plunge.

    Give us a call today on 01275 370 944

  • Get in touch

    Speak to our locally based export market specialists and our in-market delivery partners to explore how your business can look further afield to grow its international sales in the high-growth markets of Asia and Latin America.

  • Jonny Smith

    Meet your Market Specialist

    Jonny Smith has a proven track record in helping foreign companies succeed in the Chinese market - from his time at North Head, a boutique strategy consultancy in Beijing, and the Chinese-Britain Business Council – Jonny is the perfect fit as our Market Specialist for China. He holds a masters degree from Peking University in International Relations and can also speak Chinese.

Useful links

  • Understanding China city tiers

    We discuss the distinction between this myriad of cities and how to choose when forming your market entry plan.

    Find out more
  • International Market Research

    Before entering any new foreign market it is essential to carry out detailed international market research. We can help.

    Find out more
  • Intellectual Property Protection

    Our professional IP advisers have decades of experience helping businesses file IP applications in all countries.

    Find out more