About Chao Cheng

Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) and How to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China. Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing. Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services. Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market. see Chao's Bio

Chinese Website Launch Checklist

3 comments

book-Chinese Website Launch Checklist

Chinese Website Launch Checklist

You are probably quite stressful when launching a new website in Chinese.

Building a website that can sell in China requires a fully localized Chinese web design.

A couple of things could go very, very wrong if you are not aware of the basic rules.

Well, today you’re in for a treat because I’ve put together a complete list.

This checklist will be helpful for you to avoid unnecessary costs and some common mistakes, esp. when you do not have much knowledge about the China market and the internet situation.

It is the major part of our Chinese Website Expert Review.

You can run the checks for your new Chinese company websites, landing pages, and apps since same rules can be applied.

36 Things to Check Before Launching Your Chinese Website

Checklist before you launch your Chinese website

Checklist before you launch your Chinese website

Chinese Marketing Check

  • 1. Target Market    ✓
  • 2. Language    ✓
  • 3. Keywords    ✓
  • 4. Analytics Installation    ✓
  • 5. Webmaster tool    ✓
  • 6. Onsite SEO    ✓
  • 7. Hosting    ✓
  • 8. Domain    ✓
  • 9. Branding    ✓

Continue reading

Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China

0 comments

book-Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China

Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China

Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China

Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China (Photo by Chao: a Chinese Banquet at a small town in Zhejiang Province)

This is the most comprehensive collection of Chinese Business Etiquettes on the planet.

What is the best part?

All of the tips in this 101 guide are from my real consulting business.

And they are 100% actionable.

I coach my clients on these tips in their strategic market entry planning and the real business development.

So if you want to do better business in China, check out this guide.

 

First Lesson to Do Business in China

Look!

With the large and prosperous market, China could be your most lucrative country to do business in.

But it is a big challenge to understand Chinese business culture.

The truth is, it is always misunderstood by the people outside China.

Successful entrepreneurs know the first lesson of doing business in China is to:

Learn Chinese Business Etiquettes.

In Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche Market in China, when you start following my 7-Step Formula  to uncover your profitable business opportunities in China,

You’re probably wondering:

How different are Chinese people doing business from western people?

In this article, I’ll reveal the cultural differences behind the common business activities in China.

They come from my real life consulting practices with my overseas clients.

If you want to share any stories, let me know!

Here we go.

 

Table of Contents

Continue reading

How Misunderstood is China by the Outside World?

0 comments

How Misunderstood is China by the Outside World?

Most people coming from outside China admit China is totally different from what they think before they really arrive.

Seeing is believing.

Assumptions are always wrong.

I am running a consulting firm in Shanghai and meeting my clients in real life from time to time.

They always keep asking questions since there are too many cultural differences and unexpected things in their eyes.

I wrote a complete guide on Chinese Business Etiquettes and it should be the most comprehensive collection on this planet:

Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China – Sinostep

What is the best part?

All of the tips in this 101 guide are 100% actionable and from my real consulting business.

So if you want to do better business in China, check out this guide. Continue reading

7-Step Formula to Uncover Your Profitable Niche Market in China

0 comments

book-7-Step Formula to Uncover Your Profitable Niche Market in China

7-Step Formula to Uncover Your Profitable Niche Market in China

This is the most important part of Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche in China.

The goal of my 7-Step Formula is to help you answer this question:

Is this MY PROFITABLE market?

  • Step 1. Ideas: Describe your niche as specific as possible.
  • Step 2. Needs: Are there real problems and people want to solve?
  • Step 3. Money: Will people pay for this? How much will they pay? How Big is the Market?
  • Step 4. Feasibility: Is this opportunity suitable for you?
  • Step 5. Strength: Are you confident to be the no. 1 in this niche market? How?
  • Step 6. Client: Find your first client.
  • Step 7. Optimization: Confirm your market and adjust.

Step 1. Ideas: Describe your niche as specific as possible

First, brainstorming some ideas for your potential niche markets in China.

One question I always ask my new client is:

What inspires you to explore the China market?

I am sharing you with several useful tips for your brainstorming stage.

  1. Expanding your existing business to China.
  2. You know some successful business in China from your father, your brother, sister, cousins or friends.
  3. Understand the market trends in China from professional reports and news.
  4. Get ideas from your life experience.
  5. Your travel/working/living experience in China.
  6. What are your skills?
  7. What are your hobbies? or interests?
  8. What do Chinese people might want?
  9. Problems you found in Chinese consumers from your observation.

Remember to describe your potential niche as specific as possible, it will be meaningless if you are listing a very vague and broad niche.

Some typical ideas:

  • I can write and edit academic writing, esp. medical papers, and I think many Chinese doctors, university students might need this service.
  • My uncle is an owner of several pecan orchards in Texas, USA and Sonora, Mexico, and it seems he made a lot of sales in China, I want to sell pecans, or some other tree nuts to China too.
  • I am native French raised in Paris. I am a perfect French and English fashion copywriter. I might help Chinese fashion companies to write their web copies.
  • I am running a web store selling nutritional supplements and it is quite successful in the US and Australia market, can I promote it in China?
  • I have the high-end medical resources in Germany and US top hospitals, can I send Chinese cancer patients for medical treatments?
  • I am selling real estate properties in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia, I want to expand my sales leads from China.

Step 2. Needs: Are there real problems and people want to solve?

Now you have some ideas, let’s step further to verify whether it is a real market instead of an imaginary one.

Figure out whether real problems exist for your target Chinese people or companies and are they willing to make some change.

There are several ways to check:

  • Are there sufficient people talking about the problem?
  • Could you find these topics in Baidu, online Chinese communities, Chinese forums, Weibo, WeChat and other social media in China?
  • Do they need what you can offer?
  • Are there similar products or services in the market?
  • Are they sold on Chinese eCommerce platforms like Tmall, Taobao, JD etc?
  • How many competitors in the market? Are they foreign merchants too? Are they Chinese local ones?
  • What is their current solution for the problem?
  • Do your target customers really care if this problem solved or not?

A common mistake is to sell to a market that nobody is working on. You might argue that it would be more profitable if it is some virgin market.

It might be right, but it means you need more resources and takes more risks. If you are a small to medium company, a startup, or a freelancer, your chance of success will be extremely low.

I strongly recommend you to choose your first business in China in my way.

So make sure you can find similar products or services, or some competitors in the market. It means you find some market that can make money, otherwise these competitors won’t be there.

Whether Chinese Customers are Different?

Your foreign experience might work for Chinese customers, might not.

Study your potential customers and find out the possible differences.

  • You are selling weight loss solutions in western countries, and you are targeting on Age 45-70 women in the US. Is the same market segment of Chinese people interested in your weight loss solutions?

Step 3. Money: Will people pay for this? How much will they pay? How Big is the Market?

Now let’s move to the money potential questions:

  • Whether your Chinese customer will pay for what you provide? and how much?
  • How many people will pay?
  • How big is the market?

The most convenient way to do this is to study further on your findings in Step 2.

Whether your Chinese customer will pay for what you provide? and how much?

  • What is the purchase behavior difference on these products/services between Chinese customers and western customers?

Check the pricing of existing products or services in the China market and whether they are selling well.

  • How many items were sold if they are sold in eCommerce platforms like Tmall, Taobao, JD?
  • What are the best selling items?
  • What is the pricing? Find it through their websites, web stores, send inquiries to get it, play as mysterious customers to get it…

How many people will pay? How big is the market?

  • How many competitors are in the market, either foreign and local?
  • How many people talking on this in Chinese communities, online and offline?
  • What is the Baidu Index of the keywords of your niche market?
  • Are there any online/offline ads in your China market niche? Where are the ads?
  • How do your competitors send their message to the market? How do they promote?

You can find the potential market size through proper market research and analysis.

Step 4. Feasibility: Is this opportunity suitable for you?

OK, Now you’ve got a profitable niche in China, but whether is this your real opportunity?

Let’s do something further based on your findings, again!

Analyze the existing competitors in your niche with special attention on their web copies, product/service descriptions, videos, articles, blogs, customer reviews, comments, news, and reports.

Write down what you likes and dislikes about them and what Chinese customers like and dislike about them.

Find out whether you have the knowledge and resource to do the same things as your competitors, or do better than them.

You can come up with ideas how you can do the business differently, yes, that will be your unique selling points.

I Don’t Know the Chinese language.

Is it a big problem? I am sharing a cost-effective solution with you.

  • First, you can easily get a rough idea of many information from machine translation like Google translate, and it is totally free.
  • Make notes and copy important pieces of information you want to know better, make it in a single document.
  • Find some translator on upwork.com for a fair translation (or upload to Chinesetrans.com and place a quick order to get the professional translation), you can read the translated information again and make sure you get the points.
  • Hire a China virtual assistant to do the research and translation and seek for his/her advice. This is a very cost-effective way.

If you want to go further, here is an advanced solution

After the research and analysis, If you are still comfortable with this niche market.

You can go to the next step.

Step 5. Strength: Are you confident to be the no. 1 in this niche market? How?

Let’s talk about confidence and your capability.

Unique Selling Points

Do you have unique selling points? If not, why?

You must develop your unique selling points and deliver something special to your target market.

  • Look on the products and service your competitors are selling. Do you have anything better than them or something useful for the target market but not available in the market?.
  • Are your competitors good marketers? Do they work well on eCommerce platforms? Do they play well on Chinese social media? Do they have hot WeChat marketing accounts? Do they have a strong sales and business team? Do they good at writing Chinese PR articles?  Do they hold offline events often? You can beat them if you are strong in marketing.
  • Do your competitors make stupid mistakes? Wrong positioning, wrong pricing, wrong products, or wrong places to sell? Poor government relationship or Wrong choice of local partners?

Is your niche too broad?

You need to avoid the fierce competition in a seemingly profitable business.

If you are offering the same products/services (actually it is only your dream in most cases, your competitors are way much better than you.)

  • A crappy online English training website won’t bring any client for you. English training is a very profitable business in China. Online English training is a big niche market and it is booming in China. If you are small, be smart to choose a much smaller segment, you need to choose your own niche market and have a right strategy.

You can never compete with tycoons who are investing thousands of millions in marketing when you are small.

Big online English training schools are investing heavily in their China Marketing (image: A Metro Ads for an Online English Training School in East Nanjing Road, Feb. 2017, by Chao)

Big online English training schools are investing heavily in their China Marketing (image: A Metro Ads for an Online English Training School in East Nanjing Road, Feb. 2017, by Chao)

Review your choice of the niche again and describe it again, as specific as possible.

You will have a good business if you can be the no. 1 of a niche with sufficient Chinese customers.

Step 6. Client: Find your first client

Now it seems that you have everything.

Let’s turn your opportunity into a real business, a profitable business.

Start finding your first client, or getting some leads. You need to verify your market before your heavy investment.

See whether you can get some leads and how it goes, what people say, and what you see, hear and read will definitely help you plan for the next step.

This takes some time, depending on how well you prepared and what exact niche you have chosen.

When you can sell the first business to your first client, you can conclude whether it could be your business worth your fight in the coming years.

Step 7. Optimization: Confirm your market and adjust.

Finally, we can say you found your perfect niche in China if you do not regret in Step 6 struggling for your initial leads.

You still need to do a lot of things to set up your business.

  • Have you created a comprehensive China market entry strategy?
  • Implement your strategy and follow your action plans.
  • Optimize your products/ services and localize them for the Chinese market.
  • Go through all necessary procedures and get all the approvals and certifications as required by the China government.
  • Set up your China local team.
  • Find local partners.
  • Happy Selling!

Regulation and Joint Ventures

For some market segments, you need necessary approvals and certifications, and you might find a local partner to set up a joint venture. You need to be fully prepared for this and it takes the time to trust a local partner and go through all the procedures.

A Big Challenge: Localization and Implementation.

  • Do not apply your western model completely in China.
  • “This is how we do it in US/France” normally won’t work in China.
  • Localize your operations and adapt it to the China market.
  • Be sure to localize your business and make your offerings attractive to Chinese customers.

Cost Effective Solution for Your China Local Team on Early Stage

Your local team needs to be well trained and proper coaching before they can fight for you.

You can outsource some jobs to external resources to form a remote team to save your time and cost on early stage.

How to Start Your Business in China

Optimize and Establish Your Own Stable Team

  • Optimize your business and make it fully localized.
  • Be present in the important meetings.
  • Be good at marketing: Make full use of your skills in consumer insights, branding, and pricing to differentiate from your competitors.
  • Protect your intellectual property (IP) and find a strategy for the China market since it is a challenging work.
  • When the business grows bigger, put a 100% trusted senior partner in China responsible for daily operations and smooth communication, you need the real market feedback in the first time.
  • Long-term commitment in China will help you win friends: Too many short-term speculators wanted to make a overnight fortune in China failed and earned a bad reputation.
  • Don’t do anything to compromise your reputation.
  • Make you bring real value to your target Chinese customers.

Wish you a good luck and make a fortune in China!

Thanks, please let me know if you have any questions.

Understanding Market Trends in China

0 comments

book-Understanding Market Trends in China

Understanding Market Trends in China

Understanding market trends in China is critical for your China market entry strategy and business development.

I am sharing some insights on the market trends in China and you might sense some new opportunities.

Understanding Market Trends in China

Understanding Market Trends in China

  • The Rise of Chinese Middle Class

Chinese middle class is starting to pay more on services and luxury products, other than new homes and cars only.

  • Chinese Millennials: Divided Generation

Chinese Millennials are facing unprecedented prosperity and struggling with the growing pressure.

Unlike their previous generation, The New Youth in China are living on mobile phones, they are familiar with various apps and social media, know the world fashion culture and they are willing to pay for services.

It is more challenging to market to this generation but you have to. Because they are the future of China market.

5 years ago, I could not imagine that Chinese readers will donate to my Chinese articles. More than  50% of the donators to my articles are born in the 1990s.

  • Looking For a Better Life

Chinese consumers are more diversified and start to pay for quality stuff.

They are looking for better life quality, including better healthcare, better education, better food, better air quality, better relationship…

More and more people buy foreign products from overseas.

  • Buying Everything Online, Home and Abroad

This isolated internet island is way more interesting than a newcomer could imagine. It is the playground for many innovative internet-based companies, too.

Chinese consumers have switched to buying online in a lightening speed, I am not telling the joke. Chinese consumers can buy almost everything from their mobile phones, or computers.

Cross-border eCommerce is booming since Chinese consumers are buying more and more from overseas market.

My new book: Sell Online to China helps you understand what you need to prepare.

  • Challenges for Traditional Chinese Companies

It’s a new era full of changes.

Many traditional Chinese companies are struggling to find new business models.

Emerging businesses, esp. online businesses force traditional companies to make changes.

Many people are worried about their jobs and it is supposed that millions of white-collar jobs will be eliminated in the next few years.

  • Rise of Startups and Freelancers

China is full of opportunities for small to medium companies, startups, and freelancers.

More and more Chinese start-ups find their way, so do Chinese freelancers. More and more overseas Chinese students are coming back China to make their fortunes too. People can make decent money from simple business models, like working as Daigou agents.

“Freelancer” in China is not the nickname of the jobless person any more. (Road of Chinese Freelancers: Online Roundtable Meeting at Zhihu)

  • Government Still Plays an Important Role

You will inevitably handle the relationship with the government. Follow the rules and do not play any tricks.

Get the support from them and keep updated of any new favorable policy.

 

How do I create a WeChat account with a QQ number?

0 comments

How do I create a WeChat account with a QQ number?

You need a mobile phone number to create a WeChat account with your QQ.

The mobile number could be only used for registration purpose.

You can hire a China virtual assistant to do this for you, or you can use any mobile phone number that Tencent supports.

fullsizeoutput_624d

Steps

  • login page, click “Sign Up”.
  • Nickname, mobile phone number, password, avatar, Click “ Sign up”.
  • confirm the mobile phone number, click “OK”.
  • You will get the verification code from WeChat, input it in the blank.
  • Choose if you want to add contacts in address book, or just skip it.
  • Click “Link QQ to find more friends” in the WeChat interface.
  • Input your QQ number and password.
  • Finish the Link, back to Home, click “Me”-”Setting”
  • Click “Phone”, Then Click “…” on the Top right
  • Click “Unlink ” to unlink the mobile phone number.

Tadaa… Now you can use QQ to login WeChat directly.

You might be interested in Ultimate Guide to WeChat Marketing

Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche in China

0 comments

book-ultimate guide to finding your profitable niche in China

Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche in China

Looking to start a business in China but not sure what niche is suitable for you?

Read this guide today and you will find a perfect and profitable niche market in China.

I will show you how to choose the right niche in China and what risks you should minimize.

Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche in China

Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche in China

Secret to My China Consulting Business

I was interviewed by China Daily, Paypal, GQ, Jiemian and many other reporters and journalists in the last several weeks.

Almost everyone asked why I can grow from a $5/hour cross-border freelancer to an established strategic consulting business? Is there any secret?

My answer:

It is simple: helping foreign clients to find and verify their profitable niche markets in China.

People need my services.

People buy my ebooks, book my consultations, pay for my discovery contracts, research, expert reviews, and strategies, subscribe to my monthly plans. And they refer new clients to me.

This is my own profitable niche market.

 

Understand Market Trends in China

I am sharing some insights on the market trends in China and you might sense some new opportunities.

  • The Rise of Chinese Middle Class
  • Chinese MillennialsDivided Generation
  • Looking For a Better Life
  • Buying Everything Online, Home and Abroad: My new book: Sell Online to China helps you understand what you need to prepare.
  • Challenges for Traditional Chinese Companies
  • Rise of Startups and Freelancers
  • Government Still Plays an Important Role

read full article of Understanding Market Trends in China

 

No One Can Succeed In China without a Working Strategy

You can not succeed without a right online and offline China market entry strategy today.

  • An English Online Tutoring company wanted to sell 1on1 English tutoring courses to Chinese English Learners. They made a crappy website and started running a Baidu PPC campaign, but it is way too costly to get a single lead, and they’d got NO real student to buy their classes, after spending a lot of money.
  • A Medical Tourism company wanted to send Chinese patients overseas to get medical treatments. They tried email marketing, industrial exhibitions, online ads. It seemed all marketing channels are not working.

A Right China Market Entry Strategy should help you:

  • Boost your chance of success in business development.
  • Save time in understanding a totally different culture.
  • Save cost on unnecessary expenditures.
  • Get market insights quickly through affordable, but effective methods.
  • Obtain Guidance from the early stage of your business in the China market.
  • Have a local presence to get accurate information in the first time.
  • Avoid the common mistakes made by foreign brands with limited knowledge of China market.
  • Easy to Control.
  • Minimize the Risk.

 

Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

I prepared a short list of potentially profitable business opportunities in the coming years.

You can take it as a reference in choosing your own niche markets.

  • 1. Online Shops, Trading Platforms 
  • 2. Online Business / Services
  • 3. Import and Export
  • 4. Healthcare
  • 5. Pharmaceutical
  • 6. Cosmetics, Skincare
  • 7. Education
  • 8. Tourism
  • 9. Entertainment
  • 10. Food / Wine
  • 11. Agriculture
  • 12. Logistics
  • 13. Wealth Management
  • 14. IT Services/Software
  • 15. Clean Technology / Ecological
  • 16. Electronic Products and Accessories

Read full details of Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners.

Many Startups are Wrong From the Very Beginning

95% of startups fail for choosing the wrong niche market in China.

  • Choose either a huge market where fierce competition exists.
  • or a niche market with little income potential.

Research a niche BEFORE you get started!

But How? Do not make assumptions only.

Finding your profitable niche market anywhere in this world is almost following the same rules, no matter it is in France, US, or China. The only big difference is that it is in China.

You can follow my 7-Step Formula to uncover your profitable business opportunities in China.

 

7-Step Formula to Uncover Your Profitable Niche Market in China

The goal of my 7-Step Formula is to help you answer this question:

Is this MY PROFITABLE market?

  • Step 1. Ideas: Describe your niche as specific as possible.
  • Step 2. Needs: Are there real problems and people want to solve?
  • Step 3. Money: Will people pay for this? How much will they pay? How Big is the Market?
  • Step 4. Feasibility: Is this opportunity suitable for you?
  • Step 5. Strength: Are you confident to be the no. 1 in this niche market? How?
  • Step 6. Client: Find your first client.
  • Step 7. Optimization: Confirm your market and adjust.

 

Step 1. Ideas: Describe your niche as specific as possible

First, brainstorming some ideas for your potential niche markets in China.

One question I always ask my new client is:

What inspires you to explore the China market?

I am sharing you with several useful tips for your brainstorming stage.

  1. Expanding your existing business to China.
  2. You know some successful business in China from your father, your brother, sister, cousins or friends.
  3. Get ideas from the news or your life experience.
  4. Your travel/working experience in China.
  5. What are your skills?
  6. What are your hobbies? or interests?
  7. What do Chinese people might want?
  8. Problems you found in Chinese consumers from your observation.

Remember to describe your potential niche as specific as possible, it will be meaningless if you are listing a very vague and broad niche.

Some typical ideas:

  • I can write and edit academic writing, esp. medical papers, and I think many Chinese doctors, university students might need this service.
  • My uncle is an owner of several pecan orchards in Texas, USA and Sonora, Mexico, and it seems he made a lot of sales in China, I want to sell pecans, or some other tree nuts to China too.
  • I am native French raised in Paris. I am a perfect French and English fashion copywriter. I might help Chinese fashion companies to write their web copies.
  • I am running a web store selling nutritional supplements and it is quite successful in the US and Australia market, can I promote it in China?
  • I have the high-end medical resources in Germany and US top hospitals, can I send Chinese cancer patients for medical treatments?
  • I am selling real estate properties in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia, I want to expand my sales leads from China.

Read the full content of Step 2-7 in 7-Step Formula to Uncover Your Profitable Niche Market in China

Take a look at some major points:

Step 2. Needs: Are there real problems and people want to solve?

  • Several ways to check
  • A common mistake
  • Whether Chinese Customers are Different?
  • An Example

Step 3. Money: Will people pay for this? How much will they pay? How Big is the Market?

  • Money potential questions:
  • Whether your Chinese customer will pay for what you provide? and how much?
  • Check the pricing of existing products or services in the China market and whether they are selling well.
  • How many people will pay? How big is the market?

You can find the potential market size through proper market research and analysis.

Step 4. Feasibility: Is this opportunity suitable for you?

  • Whether is this your real opportunity?
  • Analyze the existing competitors in your niche
  • Find out whether you have the knowledge and resource
  • Your unique selling points.
  • I Don’t Know the Chinese language.
  • An advanced solution

Step 5. Strength: Are you confident to be the no. 1 in this niche market? How?

  • Develop your unique selling points and deliver something special to your target market.
  • Is your niche too broad?
  • An Example of an online English training business
  • Review your choice of the niche again.

Step 6. Client: Find your first client

Start finding your first client, or getting some leads. You need to verify your market before your heavy investment.

Step 7. Optimization: Confirm your market and adjust.

  • Set up your business.
  • Regulation and Joint Ventures
  • A Big Challenge: Localization and Implementation.
  • Cost Effective Solution for Your China Local Team on Early Stage
  • Optimize and Establish Your Own Stable Team

Wish you a good luck and make a fortune in China!

Thanks, please let me know if you have any questions.

Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

0 comments

book-most profitable business in China

Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

I prepared a short list of potentially profitable business opportunities in China for foreigners in the coming years.

You can take it as a reference in choosing your own niche markets.

(Nanjing Road, Shanghai, 2017, Image by Chao)

(Nanjing Road, Shanghai, 2017, Image by Chao)

1. Online Shops, Trading Platforms 

Choose a right niche market, you can open a web store or a platform to make some good money in China.

You can get the most advanced technology and convenient support that favors online businesses.

2. Online Business / Services

Many Chinese starting to offer online services since Chinese consumers/companies are more willing to pay for service than before.

It is especially easy for foreign small startups and freelancers to offer some special and unique values in the China market, and it would be easy if you are creative.

  • You can sell academic copywriting services.
  • You can provide consulting services.
  • You can sell various design services if you are capable enough.

And you can start right now without spending a lot of time and money in obtaining licenses or certifications.

3. Import and Export

You can either source from China and sell in the other part of the world, or sell products to Chinese big buyers.

  • Chao represents some biggest tree nuts buyers in China, most of them from LinAn, buying hundreds of containers every year for macadamias, pecans, walnuts, almonds.
  • It is not that difficult to find a factory in China to OEM your products and you can start building your own brands. Chao had successfully help foreign business owners to find Kitchenware, Wigs, Baby Shoes, Home Appliances.
  • Chinese meat processing factories bought a huge volume of beef/pork from overseas.

4. Healthcare

Chinese consumers are more health-conscious than in the past.

The mainstream public healthcare system in China can not satisfy the needs of Chinese patients.

Many good nutritional supplements are not produced in China.

Some niche markets

  • Foreign hospitals, clinics
  • Aging market needs a lot of awesome products
  • Medical equipment
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Anti-pollution products
  • Overseas medical tourism

5. Pharmaceutical

Everybody knows It is a very profitable business.

However, you should be ready to go through all the obstacles before acquiring a license.

You can access to a more broader market when you become a real local player.

6. Cosmetics, Skincare

Everybody wants to stay young and be beautiful.

Chinese consumers, especially women, spent tons of money on cosmetics and skincare products.

Take advantage of it.

7. Education

The education market is a golden mine in China, and a prime area is left for foreign business.

All Chinese parents are willing to spend a lot on education for their children.

Private schools are expanding, and Chinese are also more willing to pay for their own self-improvements.

8. Tourism

Nowadays Chinese tourists are traveling everywhere.

Most middle class Chinese choose overseas destinations instead of overcrowded, traditional domestic destinations, especially in public holidays.

Hotel, restaurants, air flights, car rentals, travel shops, tour guides and many other travel relevant market niches are benefit from this.

9. Entertainment

China is the second-largest movie box office market in the world.

10. Food / Wine

Everyone loves and needs food, and Chinese consumers are looking for better and safer food.

All kinds of foreign food /wines in the China market sell well if they are allowed to be sold.

11. Agriculture

China is facing continual food-safety crises and it will be a long-lasting challenge for Chinese.

New technology is encouraged in this field, especially on value added products.

12. Logistics

Good supply chain management is urgently needed for many sectors in China.

You can find various niche markets in this area and it is very close to money return considering the booming e-tailing in China.

13. Wealth Management

High-net-worth individuals in China still has limited access to investment skills.

They are eager to broaden their investment portfolios.

14. IT Services/Software

Most Chinese companies, either big or small,  want better software and IT services.

They will resort to external resources to solve their technology challenges.

For some specialized niche markets, you can make a fortune from Chinese buyers who needs professional services.

15. Clean Technology / Ecological

China has its pollution problems as we all know.

  • Clean energy,
  • Anti-pollution products
  • Afforestation projects,
  • Garden landscape engineering,

could find its opportunities here.

But for some projects, it is challenging to get through some policy and connection problems before you can break into the China market.

16. Electronic Products and Accessories

Electronic products and accessories are generally cheap in China.

A mature profitable business model is to source electronic products and accessories like memory cards, batteries, USB cords and sell to the rest of the world.

 

How to Choose A Right, Profitable Niche Market in China For You?

Follow my 7-Step Formula in Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche Market in China to uncover your profitable business opportunities in China.

If you have some idea, you would need a right Market Entry Strategy.

 

From $5/hour Job on Upwork to My Million Dollar Cross-border Consulting Business

0 comments

From $5/hour Job on Upwork to My Million Dollar Cross-border Consulting Business

I had been working on upwork since 2011, starting from $5/hour job as my entry strategy, and now I am ranking among the very few top earners from China.

In the past 5 years. I was invited to more than 10 countries, including USA, France, Belgium, Mexico, Thailand, for business travels and it is amazing and I really enjoyed working in this way,

After I earned around $100,000 from Upwork, my own consulting business is established and I am not dependent on freelancers’ marketplace.

From time to time I can still get pocket money for some interesting projects from marketplaces like Upwork.

I got many interviews from website, magazines, companies when more people in China knew my stories.

I was also invited to Zhihu, the Largest Chinese Knowledge Sharing Platform, yes, similar to Quora, to run a column on Freelancers and Startups.

Last November, I was invited to share my insights into the freelance business and advice for Chinese cross-border freelancers on Road of Chinese Freelancers: Online Roundtable Meeting at Zhihu.

My First Job on Upwork

It took me years to get my first job upwork.

I am not kidding.

First, it is quite difficult for non-English speakers to understand the game rules.

Second, I also doubt whether it could be a goldmine in freelancers’ market place while zhubajie, China’s biggest freelancers’ marketplace gave me very poor impression since most people can not earn a decent living from it.

After I registered my accounts on odesk/elance/freelancer etc. I set my hourly rate to be USD30 in the very beginning, sent some proposals, there were some replies, but the competition was so fierce and I could not get any job.

I don’t think I have very special skills at that time, so it was quite hard to persuade clients to click the “hire” button.

I am starting on sending proposals to English-Chinese translation jobs and website design jobs.

My competitors are everywhere, especially from India, Philippines.

It is ridiculous for an Indian guy to take English-Chinese translation jobs from western clients at a low price and then outsource to a Chinese freelance translator at an even lower price.

I don’t want to play such games.

But I really want to know how those successful freelancers can earn so much.

I changed my mind.

First I should learn how it works. Then I can make a living from it.

I chose the most simple and easy strategy

Lower my price!!!

My first job on odesk, I just took this snapshot from upwork this morning to write this part.

Yes, I started the job from USD5/hour from a German client.

It was really a very happy experience since it works for me for the first week when I adopted the new strategy.

It gave me great confidence and I was willing to devote more time on odesk.

Second Job, Third, and More… and My Hourly Rate Increases

When you got the first job, you are among the top10%

About 90% of upwork freelancers never earned a penny from the platform.

You are truly started from this moment.

It is happy to see my second job coming in, and third, and more jobs.

And I set a pricing strategy for myself.

Increase your hourly rate every month, if not every week.

And this is what I did, exactly.

I charged USD20/hour from Nov. 2011.

I charged USD35/hour from the end of 2012.

I charged USD55/hour from Mar. 2014.

Now I set the price to be USD300/hour.

Planning My Consulting Business

When your hourly rate increases, you can work less and earn more if you balance the work and life.

Before you can lead a decent freelancing life.

It is imperative to use your brain to think and plan in the early stage.

I started to build my own Consulting business from Day One when I got my first job on upwork.

It seems very promising since we can see so many potential clients out there.

I know it is a bouncy bumpy road, but it is worth trying.

I built a website based on WordPress and started writing blogs first.

Initial Questions

Every day I am asking myself the following questions.

  • What are their problems to solve?
  • Why do they have these problems?
  • How can I help them?
  • What should I prepare?
  • How to persuade them to trust me?
  • What are the fun parts?

Research & Learn, Not Just Work

To be honest, it is quite busy when I started accepting more and more jobs from upwork.

When you are charging the hourly rate at about USD25–35/hour, an affordable rate for many clients, you don’t need to worry too many new jobs if you have an established profile.

  • Make an attractive profile

Make your profile attractive to potential clients.

List your successful cases you are proud of.

Make your profile easy to read.

  • Think as your Customers

You can win the heart of the customer when you think in their way.

Elaborate your skills and how you solve problems of others.

  • Standing out from the Crowd

Remember, only 10% freelancers got their jobs on marketplaces.

Study those successful ones and average ones, compare the differences.

Improve your profile all the time, and ask people to read and get their feedback.

  • Try to get your first job as soon as possible

Only when you get your first job, you can start your real journey.

Be serious with every proposal you sent for the first job.

You can tell them your situation and even consider to give some discount.

Even if it is a simple job, it is a good start.

Tips to Be Better

When you get more and more jobs.

Think how you can make better, here are some useful tips

  • Never Stop Learning, Find Your Potential

Try different possibilities and meet with different clients.

Accept challenges.

You can learn a lot from the real work, even something you had never tried before.

Find the most needed skills and learn them.

  • Find your niche market

After various trials and tests, you will find what you would love to work on, and where is your market.

  • Craft your English writing

Most freelance work needs remote communication.

Both English writing and speaking skills are very important, especially writing.

Learning how to make your English writing persuasive.

Write better proposals, profiles, emails, reports, message communications, etc.

It is not an easy job, but worth your time.

Your persuasive words are your weapons and your best salesman.

Actually, I am also helping my overseas clients in Chinese copywriting: 10 Fundamental Rules For Writing Killer Chinese Web Copy, and helping Chinese customers to make better English web copies.

Build Your Personal Brand

  • Use your real name

I don’t understand why some freelancers prefer uploading fake pictures to pretend as an attractive girl to win jobs.

It is not a dating business, but building your real startup business.

My advice is to use your real name with professional real pictures.

Don’t use cartoons, don’t use nicknames.

Trust is the top issue when talking about the business. Only when people trust you, they will hire.

  • Testimonials

Good testimonials are your best advertisements.

Be sure to win good ratings and recommendations.

I admit, not all clients are good, but most clients are kind and will give true opinions.

Build your solid online reputation and people will come for you.

  • Share your experiences and expertise

Don’t hide your expertise, write them down and share them.

It is awesome to know more friends and get more business opportunities after I began writing my blogs (both English and Chinese), attending conferences and roundtable meetings, accepting interviews and even writing eBooks and China business guides etc.

Running My Own Consulting Business

I’d say I gained many experiences from freelance marketplaces and it means like my startup boot camp.

I polished my writing and speaking skills, realized my potentials and found my own niche markets which I love.

  • Improve My Writing & Speaking

I improved my English through daily use.

I don’t need to pay a single penny to attend classes.

Speaking English over the phone or face to face meeting needs confidence for non-native English speakers.

We can solve it through working in English.

It also helps my Chinese Writing and Speaking.

Now I write every day and it becomes a habit.

  • My Potential

I found many interesting jobs and learned a lot.

I met up with many kind clients and experienced business consultants.

Working together with these smart guys also help you understand the essence of business.

I know I can do many things which I didn’t know before.

  • My Own Niche Markets

China market is so lucrative that more and more overseas companies are planning their China market entry.

However, many small to medium businesses and startups found it quite difficult to choose the right niche markets in China and could not make a suitable strategy facing the cultural and language barriers.

There are some but not many cross-border consulting firms working in this area.

And this is my chance.

 

  • My 9-Category China Market Entry Services

Now I am offering 9 categories of services to them after a complete analysis of my previous successful projects.

1. China Strategic Consulting

Help clients to develop optimal solutions for their China market entry and growth strategy.

2. Business Development & Sales Solutions

A big challenge for overseas companies in China is the implementation and localization, esp. in the early stage.

I provide business development service for the clients to do the initial big account sales and find potential longterm partners.

I also started a China Sales Starter (CSS) program to help overseas clients to have a quick solution to establish their local Sales team.

My clients can also get China Virtual Assistants to handle basic administrative, customer service, website management, writing and online marketing, trade & sourcing, and sales & research services.

 3. Chinese Content Marketing

Help Customers build their authority with right Chinese content through online reputation managementWeChat marketing, Chinese copywriting, China social media marketing and email marketing.

Customers place Chinese translation orders at www.chinesetrans.com and they find it quite easy to operate.

4. Get a Chinese Name
Get an exceptional Chinese Name for IndividualsCompany, Brand, or Products.

5. China Digital Marketing

Many customers are looking for Baidu PPC and Chinese SEO services too.

6. China eCommerce

7. Trade Service

8. China Corporate Service

9. Creative Design

 

Write Useful eBooks, Guides and Tips for My Customers

I am encouraged to share some stories, guides, and tips to my clients and they enjoyed the reading.

Today is the last day of 2016 in Chinese lunar Calendar year.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Be Confident and Start Your Smart Working Now!

Cheng Chao

Senior Partner

SinoStep – China Market Entry Strategy and Implementation Expert

How do I know if someone has blocked me on WeChat?

0 comments

How do I know if someone has blocked me on WeChat?

Three situations

  • You were deleted

When you visit his/her personal page, there will be thumbnail pictures of the moments in personal album,

Nothing will be shown in the moments.

  • She/He blocked you

You can see neither thumbnail pictures in the personal page nor anything in the moments.

You were blocked, but still in the contact list.

  • She/He never posted any moments

There are no personal album in the personal page.

Either this is an account he/she seldom use and he/she never posted anything in the moments, or he/she just deleted all the moments.

This is very rare.

Yes, you can try to send a message to verify. But it seems quite silly!

Interested in Working Together? Let's Chat!

Latest Post

- Chinese Website Launch Checklist

- Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China

- How Misunderstood is China by the Outside World?

Send this to friend