From ‘made in China’ to ‘made for China’

6 November 2018

By Ashley Wassall

Global businesses are focusing on quality products and millennials as they aim to boost sales to the country’s fast-growing consumer market.

International businesses are confident the quality of their products will appeal to Chinese customers, understand that distribution partnerships and e-commerce platforms are key to success in this market, and are targeting the growing spending power of consumers aged under 40.

These are among the key findings from our first Navigator: Made for China survey, which we published today to coincide with the China International Import Exhibition in Shanghai. We are welcoming guests to our stand at the event (pictured) to promote the role we play in connecting clients across borders, particularly through technology.

“To succeed in the future, international businesses must be ‘Made for China,’ said Stuart Tait, Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Asia-Pacific. “China is no longer just the world’s factory; its fast-growing consumer market is prompting international businesses to re-evaluate how and what they sell to China.

“While made-in-China goods are found in-store and online around the world, the rapid development of China’s economy means that Chinese consumers are shaping the strategies of international businesses.”

Key findings

We surveyed 1,205 companies in 11 key global markets that export to China or are considering doing so.

Among current exporters:

  • 37% said that being able to provide distinctive or superior products and services was the top factor driving sales growth in China
  • 45% of European respondents were particularly confident about the appeal of their products
  • 30% highlighted the rising affluence and increasing disposable income of Chinese consumers as the key catalyst for their sales growth.

“Chinese consumers haven’t just become richer, they’ve become more health-conscious, more concerned about the environment and more discerning about brands and the quality of what they buy,” said Helen Wong, Chief Executive, Greater China.

“This is about a growing middle class buying avocados and wearable digital devices – just like middle-class consumers in Europe or North America.”

What Chinese consumers want

Our survey found Chinese consumers are increasingly focused on price and quality when making purchases:

  • 40% look for competitive pricing
  • 40% focus on quality and safety
  • 30% seek technologically superior products and services.

Our insight into Chinese consumerism

Millennials, platforms and partnerships

Most businesses we surveyed said Chinese consumers aged under 40 today will drive demand for years to come.

They also identified the importance of having both a physical and an online presence to reach these consumers. About half of respondents said they’re accessing the Chinese market by developing local distributor networks, entering into joint ventures or selling directly via e-commerce and m-commerce.



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