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Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

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Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur from the west seeking to expand to China? Or are you interested in opening a new business in China? If yes, this article is for you. We will explain the 5 most viable business openings in China today and the 5 most reliable tips on how to get started in this highly-competitive market. Please be our guest.

Which Viable Market Opportunities Can You Pursue in China?

As the affluent middle class continues to expand in China, solid economic transformations in the country are being realized day by day. The biggest beneficiaries of these transformations are multinational companies who have set up or are planning to open a shop in China. There are now bigger and better market opportunities to pursue, more advanced industries to invest in, and more tech-intensive manufacturing opportunities to consider. As a matter of fact, China now boasts of a 50% bigger manufacturing economy as compared to the USA.

If you are looking to tap into the continued increase in high value-added production, increased globalization of the service sector, as well as the increased outbound investment in China, these 5 market opportunities would be lucrative enough for you:

Healthcare

Rising wealth often comes with an increase in lifestyle diseases. An increase in manufacturing, on the other hand, brings forth many environmental concerns. These two factors have made the healthcare industry very lucrative in China. You will create a reliable cash cow if you could invest in a business that deals with herbal supplements or small health products- or a mainstream pharmaceutical company, so to speak. Also, the use of skincare products is on the rise in China. It’s best to set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise for such operations.

Import and export trade

China is currently the largest exporter of tech goods and importer of processed foods globally. That means you can build a profitable importing and exporting business here in a heartbeat. 

Supplementary education

Many middle-class Chinese are keen on improving their English and expanding their knowledge of different aspects of business and politics. If you can offer them after-school private tutoring services, you will be making impressive annual returns on a consistent basis. Moreover, online tutorage is on the rise in China, which enables you to tutor more people in a more cost-effective way.Food production

This goes without saying: Everyone needs food, everyone loves good food. And now that the middle-class in China is welcoming new entrants in huge numbers, there is a significant supply gap within this class for as long as the food is concerned. A rise in class obviously comes with a change in lifestyle, and food is at the center of every lifestyle. 

Mobile phones and accessories

The whole world has in the recent past turned to China for all its tech needs. The nation is the largest producer and importer of affordable mobile phones and accessories, meaning that a business in this industry would be extremely profitable.

How to Get Started In China

As lucrative as China could be, many investors from the west talk about it with fear. Some of these foreign entrants tried and failed, or struggled to find their footing in this Asian economic giant. But what would render you unable to compete and survive here? For starters, the business environment here is too unforgiving and the competition too stiff for the faint-hearted. Also, cases of language barriers, cultural differences, and bureaucratic government regulations have led to the peril of many. 

In the middle of all these, how do you defy the odds and succeed in China? Here are 5 actionable tips on how to get started in China:

Don’t just translate your content for China; ensure that everything about your business is localized for China. 

It is important to understand and comply with all business regulations in China. The hiring process can be tricky to a new entrant, which necessitates the services of a Chinese recruitment agency. Such an agency will help you with all employment laws, privileges, and remuneration. 

Ensure that you understand and respect the cultural differences that exist between the west and the east. 

Never underestimate the power of customer opinion in China. Let the customer tell what their experience with your product is, respect their opinion, learn from your mistakes, and ensure that you find lasting solutions to all their concerns. 

As much as possible, try to work with a local partner in order to benefit from the many favors local entrepreneurs get from the government. 

blockchain

How Blockchain Can Fight Counterfeiting and Fraud

A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office shows that imported counterfeit goods raked in $509 billion in 2016 — nearly 3.3% of all global imports for that year. To fight back against the rising tide of knockoffs threatening their brands, companies are turning to blockchain technology to create more transparent supply chains.

Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized ledger technology controlled by smart contracts and regulated by a consensus protocol. The ledger automatically records every transaction, and every record it creates is unalterable. Depending on exactly how one uses the ledger, it can be classified as permissioned, public, or fit for purpose.

Within a brand’s supply chain, a blockchain ledger can manage a variety of activity from automating contract compliance between entities via smart contracts to tracking products from manufacturing to distribution. The ledger eliminates supply chain ambiguities and creates transparency that ensures companies and customers get the quality for which they pay.

Blockchain’s Value in Existing Supply Chains

The value of modernizing supply chains with blockchain isn’t just theory. Major brands have already begun partnering with tech firms and other entities in response to rising demands for improved brand protection. LVMH (Louis Vuitton SE), for instance, working closely with Microsoft and ConsenSys, has created Aura Ledger to provide proof of authenticity of luxury items and trace their origins from raw materials to point of sale and beyond to the used-goods markets.

Throughout the retail industry, companies like eBay are starting to offer product authentication as a value-added service. Currently, the company authenticates only handbags due to rising concerns from customers about their authenticity. However, eBay plans to expand authentication to additional luxury items that might be subject to counterfeit.

In agriculture, the blockchain-based Grain Discovery streamlines transactions between farmers and buyers, making it easier for them to form new partnerships. In the pharmaceutical industry, distributors have formed the MediLedger consortium to track the provenance of pharmaceuticals and stem the counterfeit drug market worth more than $75 billion annually.

In virtually every industry, suppliers and distributors are turning to blockchain technology to lower their risk of fraud. A decentralized, immutable record of every product’s journey can help verify authenticity — or lack thereof.

Blockchain as a Force Against Fraud

Companies that worry about counterfeit versions of their products have options to address the issue. When implemented together, the following steps can help mitigate risk and inspire confidence among companies and consumers alike:

Establish a secure supply chain network.

For blockchain to successfully transform a company’s supply chain, every business entity along the chain must agree to participate. That makes establishing a network of trusted partners the most important step toward securing products.

For example, the jewelry consortium TrustChain, which operates on IBM’s blockchain platform, only works because the group includes the mines that produce jewels, manufacturers that refine them, and retailers that sell them.

Given the rise of counterfeit purchases, most companies with strong brands are looking to work with their suppliers to prevent fraud. The momentum of such efforts increases when every stakeholder in the supply chain sees the value and signs up to actively participate in the efforts.

Choose the tags most suited for the brand and product.

Only with the right tagging technology can blockchain technology track every product along its journey. Through various IoT devices, tags can detect diversions, liquid leaks, vibrations, package openings, tilt, excessive force, and more.

Companies have several options, such as smart tags and high-resolution signatures that digitally relate products to the blockchain. Purpose-fit tags that have been developed to track shipments at the container, pallet, and package levels further help. Companies can also employ decentralized identifiers (DIDs) that are universally resolvable and globally visible to stakeholders throughout the supply chain.

This topic holds great interest across many industries. The RFID Lab at Auburn University recently announced the Chain Integration Project (or CHIP) launch, a project focused on finding ways for retail and apparel companies to communicate with their suppliers about tracking product inventory at the item level using radio frequency identification tags and blockchain. The project has attracted global companies across many industries due to the applicability across supply chains outside of retail and apparel.

Some products don’t need to be tracked with such intricate detail, while others should be tagged to track every moment of their journeys. Determine what tagging technology makes the most sense, adds business value, and is easiest to manage along the entire supply chain.

Encourage customers to be part of the solution.

When customers clearly and directly benefit from a company’s use of a blockchain-enabled supply chain, getting more partners to join the consortium becomes easier. However, brands can’t expect all end users to automatically jump on board.

When eBay released its authentication program for handbags, it did so in response to a need its customers had expressed. To entice sellers to participate, it offers several incentives if they sign up to authenticate their products.

Before long, the streamlined processes and unprecedented transparency that blockchain provides will be more than enough to encourage participation. Until then, make it more attractive through bonuses and other rewards in order to incentivize users and increase customer stickiness.

Unleash IoT, AI, and ML to actively fight fraud.

Protecting against counterfeiting and fraud isn’t always a passive exercise. With blockchain, companies can unleash the potential of IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to actively prevent fraudulent transactions.

For instance, customers can scan product tags to verify their authenticity or compare images of the product against its stored signatures. Proof of purchase and other transaction details can be cryptographically linked to the buyer and product and then subsequently uploaded to the blockchain.

Any product that bears a brand’s name but can’t be tracked to its manufacturer would be considered counterfeit. A company can ensure, in real time, that it receives compensation for every product sold with its name on it.

The reported value of fraudulent goods that hit the global market is expected to continue rising, but companies are no longer helpless in the face of counterfeiters. As more industries and their supply chains embrace blockchain technology, counterfeit goods will no longer have a place in any market.

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Mohan Venkataraman is the chief technology officer of Chainyard, a blockchain consulting company focused on delivering production solutions that address supply chain, financial services, transportation, government, and manufacturer pain points. With more than 20 years of proven experience, Mohan has extensive skills in software engineering, governance best practices, and industry models. With exposure to more than 70 clients, he has a clear focus on understanding client needs and aligning technology and business priorities to deliver value. His current interests include blockchain, cloud solutions, big data, service-oriented architecture, governance and integration competency center establishment, and enterprise architecture, with a focus in telecom media, technology, insurance, retail, healthcare, and life sciences industries.

TenderEasy Makes Spend Matters’ Top 50 Provider to Watch List

Sustainable freight procurement leading company, TenderEasy – part of Alpega Group, was confirmed as a Top 50 Provider to Watch in 2019 by Spend Matters, landing them a place in the Spend Matters Almanac which serves as an unbiased vendor procurement directory.

Spend Matters serves as a solution intelligence source that recognizes innovators specifically in the procurement and supply chain sectors. The Azul Partners, Inc. owned and managed source researches and selects companies based on their unique merits.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by Spend Matters as a leading freight procurement solution,” said Johan Vagerstam, chief executive officer and co-founder of TenderEasy, part of Alpega.  “This acknowledgement reaffirms the market need for technology in the freight procurement process, and underlines the user-friendly nature of our solution. As we continue to grow our business in Europe and North America, we value Spend Matters for their consistent, independent coverage of the rapid evolution of these industry solutions.”

TenderEasy offers customers an innovative freight procurement tool that grants visibility to freight tendering/ RFQs for air, land, and sea, and is capable of multi-modal freight contract tendering, spot bidding, and invoice reconciliation. This tool ultimately removes manual processes and optimizes efficiencies for shippers.


Does Your Tech Company Need a Brand? The answer is “Absolutely.”

We all know that many companies, especially tech companies and companies with technology-enabled value propositions, have a hard time getting their branding right. They have rebrand after rebrand, but their message never seems to hit home with customers. It seems helpless. After working with hundreds of companies in this exact situation, I’m confident to say that it isn’t helpless.

They’re just making one fatal mistake:

These companies are focusing on the output of branding before adequately understanding and bonding emotionally with their customers.

Many technology companies see branding as writing the perfect copy, choosing the perfect color scheme, and writing up a perfect competitive sales message. The often treat messaging as branding. They get lost in a sea of bits and bytes and focus on speeds, feeds, throughputs and proprietary technology, never getting to a message that bonds so strongly with customers that they’d feel they were cheating on the brand were they to choose a competitor.   

Messages and marketing might be the output of branding, but branding is one thing: understanding – and bonding in a deeply emotional way with – your customer. I spend a lot of my time working with technology companies who categorically reject the notion that tech companies need to create deep emotional bonds with their customers. They believe that their tech’s special bells and whistles should be enough to sustainably differentiate them and give them a competitive advantage for their entire lifecycle.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If your proprietary technology or whizz-bang features that give your tech more of what I call RASM (reliability, availability, scalability, manageability) are not directly imitable by a competitor, the high-level benefits those features provide are. Here’s what I mean. Your solution may have a feature that enables customers to do more processing faster, helping them focus on their core jobs. You might even create messages that are centered on the notion of “doing more with less.” Unfortunately, that’s a baseline requirement – and promise – of technology in general, right? If you market on the basis of something that’s a baseline expectation of an entire category of products (and in the case of technology, an entire industry) you’re doing it wrong. That would be like marketing ice cream on the basis of being made of milk and being cold and sweet.

If you are pointing your marketing towards a company or a nameless, faceless customer, you’re doing it wrong. Technology purchase influencers come in many shapes and sizes, not just demographically, but also attitudinally and psychographically. What I mean here is that if you’re a tech company with new, unproven but exciting technology behind it, your ideal customer might be someone who is not just willing to take a risk on new tech but wants to be seen as an innovator in her or his organization. When you know exactly at whom you’re pointing your tech brand, you can start to understand what’s important to them and target not only your brand, but your messages and marketing directly at that person’s values, beliefs and desired achievements.

Finally, take a look at your company’s website right now. Go ahead and do it. I’ll wait. Take note of the first words you see on your website’s main headline. If those words are either “we” or your company’s name, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re talking from the point of view of “we do this so you can …” or “we make blah, blah and blah…” you’re doing it wrong. The best technology brands in the world are those that focus on their customers’ life stories and what they, as individuals, are looking to achieve in life.

This is a challenge. There are thousands of ways you can understand your customers, and many companies are paralyzed by understanding where to start.

From my experience helping companies understand their customers, there are three core questions that really get to the root of how the brand and customer interact. If you can answer these three questions, you’ll be in a much better place to start your branding process.

1) What does your brand say about your customers?

The first question for brands to answer is what it says about a person that he or she uses this brand. What does it communicate both to the outside world and to the customer him or herself? This is important because, at its core, this is what a brand is. It’s a statement about the customer, and it’s crucial that, as a business, you know what that statement is. Answering this question requires you to really get inside your customers’ heads and understand what they want to achieve in their lives, how they measure their success in achieving those goals, what they care most deeply about, and, ultimately, how the brand must deliver.

2) What is the singular thing your brand delivers that customers can’t get from anyone else?

The second question to understand is what the singular thing is that a person using this brand gets from it that they can’t get from any other brand. In other words, what makes your brand singular and indispensable. What you’ll find, as you dig into this question, is that most of the answers aren’t tangible. It’s unlikely that your product has a feature that no competitors can provide. Instead, what commonly comes up are intangible benefits, like the ways the company makes them feel or the story it tells them about themselves.

3) How do you make your customer a hero in the story of his or her own life?

The third question requires an understanding of how your brand makes the customer a hero in his or her own life story. Everybody wants to be the hero in his or her own story. Everybody wants to be the protagonist. Some brands may achieve that in an obvious way (like a fashion brand making the customer stand out from the crowd), whereas others might be more subtle (like an IT brand making the purchasing manager look good in front of their colleagues). No matter what the case, if you can answer this question, you’ll have loyal customers for life.


At a very high level, everything we do in branding is about answering those three questions.

Before you do any copywriting, design, or other branding outputs, take some time to answer those three questions. If you have trouble getting to the bottom of them, don’t worry. Ask your customers for help, and keep digging until you really understand them. With this newfound understanding of who your customers are and how they want to interact with your brand, you’ll be on the path to defining a powerful brand strategy.

Deb Gabor is the author of Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand That Thrives in Turbulent Times. She is the founder of Sol Marketing which has led brand strategy engagements for organizations ranging from international household names like Dell, Microsoft, and NBC Universal, to digital winners like Allrecipes, Cheezburger, HomeAway and RetailMeNot, and dozens of early-stage tech and digital media titans. For more information, please visit www.debgabor.com and connect with Deb on Twitter, @deb_sol.

Amazon’s Austin Tech Hub Projects 800 Jobs Following Expansion

Adding to the 22,000+ job portfolio in the state of Texas, Amazon announced its Austin Tech Hub will create an additional 800 jobs in the region following the projected hub expansion scheduled for 2020.

“In the last four years, we have created more than a 1,000 jobs in Austin,” said Terry Leeper, General Manager of Amazon’s Austin Tech Hub. “With a strong pool of technical talent in Austin and a dynamic quality of life, we are excited to continue to expand and create more opportunity in this vibrant city.”

“The state of Texas has cultivated a strong and vibrant business environment, leading to more jobs and greater innovation,” said Governor Abbott. “With today’s announcement and continued investment in the technology sector, Texas will continue to chart a path toward greater economic prosperity.”

The new 145,000 square foot office in The Domain will provide tech-focused job opportunities including software and hardware engineering, research science, and cloud computing. Amazon was recognized as #1 on LinkedIn Top Companies in 2018 and boasts a unique and competitive benefits package including healthcare beginning on day one of employment and a dedicated paid apprenticeship program for military veterans.

“I’m pleased that Amazon is doubling down on Austin by expanding the Tech Hub,” said Senator Watson. “Austin is a special place that fosters creativity and innovation, and I appreciate that Amazon has chosen to become an even greater contributor to our dynamic community and economy.”

To read more about the Austin Hub expansion and employee benefits, please visit The Amazon Blog.