China: New Beginnings

Nee-Hao from China! Sitting in the apartment in downtown Shanghai is an experience in itself. The China market seems interesting and starkly different from what I have experienced in India or America. The sheer amount of focus on brands and advertisement is amazing. There are progressive advertising banners on set intervals between the stations, which looks like a video ad when the train runs (imagine pictures coming to life in a flip-book!). There are huge billboards everywhere, and everyone seems to be in a hurry. The food is surprisingly different from the Americanized Chinese food that we get in Columbus. It is slightly sweeter everywhere in Shanghai, apart from the spicy Sichuan food, of course! The retail stores are single-brand owned stores, and there are no superstores that sell multiple brands. The apartment that we live in is comfortable, but we faced a few issues with our internet connectivity in the first few days. The weather is pleasant- misty rain almost through the entirety of the days as this is the plum season. My team members are diverse with their experiences. Xiaoran has been setting up very helpful meetings through his contacts, while Lucy has been a great translator, bridging the gap created by the language barrier.

Conducting business and entering the market here is easy and difficult at the same time. The brand name sells. No matter the material or the utility- if the brand is big overseas, the product will sell at a huge premium (~200 %!). The market is huge which means that there will be buyers for any product that you can get out there. There are 25 million people in Shanghai alone. There is a big possibility that someone will like your product!

But how to enter the market is the big question. How can our client enter the market with a mid to premium segment product in a country that is known for its notorious piracy and duplication? The answer to this question is our team’s challenge. We are hoping for some insightful days ahead that will help us learn how to conduct business in this mystic land of dragons.