Tips for Exporting Food to China: seizing a great opportunity
China, with its more than 1.4 billion inhabitants, presents a great opportunity for the export of food products. However, in order to succeed in this highly competitive and constantly evolving market, it is essential to consider several key issues before developing an export strategy. Here are some recommendations:
- Understanding Export Regulations: Before venturing into the Chinese market, it is crucial to study the specific regulations governing the export of your product to the country. Regulations may vary depending on the type of product and its origin, so make sure you comply with all legal requirements. One of the best ways to ensure compliance with all regulations and to understand regulatory complexity is with so-called “test shipments” through trusted logistics operators.
- Getting to know Chinese Culture: China has an immense cultural history that spans thousands of years. This cultural identity influences the thinking and idiosyncrasies of Chinese society, whose traditional values, such as respect for elders and social status, are also fundamental for companies wishing to do business in the country.
- Define the Target Consumer: Identifying your target audience in China is essential for success. The generational differences in the country are enormous, and so are the consumption habits. It is important to know who really makes the purchase decision, who consumes it, who gives it as a gift…
- Adapt to Chinese Dynamics: Chinese society is highly dynamic, and trends change rapidly, so it is important to be willing to continuously adapt to changing consumer preferences and demands. Examples such as the so-called “lazy economy”, where express home delivery services have been greatly boosted, are a good reflection of the type of consumption and habits of its citizens.
- Understanding Distribution Channels: Distribution channels in China can differ significantly from those in the West. The offline or traditional channel is usually crowded or highly saturated, while e-commerce or the gift channel have a special role in consumption and usually present greater opportunities. It is important to know and take advantage of these channels to be competitive. A fact to get an idea of the importance of this channel: China has approximately 1 billion mobile users who spend an average of 7 hours a day on their devices.
- Focus on Consumer Lifestyle: It is important to focus on increasing consumer awareness, so rather than simply “selling” products, it is important to promote an attractive“lifestyle“. Chinese consumers also value the traceability and safety of imported products. Chinese consumers also attach great importance to quality assurance in imported products and healthy lifestyles.
- Marketing and Communication Strategy: Social networks and“influencers” are a fundamental pillar in the promotion of products in China. An effective marketing and communication strategy should use these platforms to effectively reach your audience and achieve brand recognition.
- Adapt the Branding to the Chinese Market: The brand and its visual identity must be attractive and relevant to the Chinese market. This usually implies adjustments in branding to adapt to local preferences and sensibilities, such as a different packaging, a good translation of the brand…
In short, exporting food to China can offer a lucrative opportunity, but it is not without its cultural and commercial complexities. With a solid, tailored strategy and a thorough understanding of the needs and expectations of Chinese consumers, Spanish companies can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by this market.