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60 Essential Things to Know Before You Visit China for Business

Essential Things to Know Before You Visit China for Business

More and more overseas businesses are expanding to China for new opportunities.

Business travels are the direct way to reach your potential customers and partner. But there are quite a few common issues in the China business travels for western businessmen.

After several years China market entry consulting, I’ve compiled some top tips for going to China that many businessmen wish they’d had before landing in China.

Make Your China Business Travel Plan

1. Set Up Business Appointments

It would be quite easy if you only need to finish one single task to meet a certain existing client or visit a specific place.

However, in many cases,  you want to meet some potential customers you’ve never known before, you might visit several cities in your coming trip.

You need to plan your travel well.

  • Collect leads of potential customers or partners.
  • Make self-introduction, explain your business goal,  and propose potential meeting.
  • Providing time slot options.
  • check Coordinate the place, the time and the people for all the meetings.

Normally you need a local representative to help you coordinate all these since setting up meeting appointments in different places will be annoying if you are a total stranger to China.

2. Get Connected through Someone

Chinese don’t like doing business with individuals or companies they don’t know, so working through an intermediary is crucial.

This could be an individual or an organization who can make a formal introduction and vouch for the credibility of you or your company.

Some clients tried to make appointments with key decision makers just through cold calls.

They realized this after many trials.

3. Do Business With Key Decision Makers

You have to impress and do business with decision makers at the very top.

The normal cold call strategy would not work.

Nobody really cares telemarketers.

Why?

  • First, it seems you don’t know the Chinese culture.
  • Second, they could not tell whether you are trustworthy.
  • Third, they will doubt your capability.

The wise investment is to find a local partner or agent to help you arrange serious meetings and introduce valuable connections.

4. Meeting Rooms

You can visit the offices of your potential clients, but it takes time for you to move from one place to another.

You need to consider time and distance issues. And traffic jams in rush hours are very common in big cities in China.

Make sure this kind of meetings would not affect your following meetings.

You can also arrange business meetings in your hotel and it will save quite a lot of your time if you have a tight schedule to meet many people, remember to book the meeting rooms in advance.

5. Optimize Your Itinerary

Some typical questions for your China business travel:

  • How long will you stay in China?
  • How many people will you meet up with? 
  • Where will you visit?

Set up realistic goals first, design your itinerary according to the availability of the people you want to meet, prioritize your important meetings.

Try to arrange as more important appointments within limited days and make your travel flexible, so that you may arrange some new meetings when you are here in China.

6. Avoid Traveling on Chinese Holidays

Your business travel will be ruined if you choose to do it in Chinese holidays.

It’s difficult to book tickets and everywhere is crowded.

Many people you want to see may be not at their office.

7. Hire a Local Virtual Assistant

For important China business travels, , you’d better hire a senior Chinese virtual assistant to help you handle a series of jobs like leads creation, making appointments,  booking hotels and planning the itinerary.

You can also hire a senior consultant to work as your local assistant to translate and solve all the possible issues you might meet up with.

Prepare Travel Documents for China

8. Visas for China

Before you visit China, you’ll need to arrange your visa in advance since there are no visas on arrival.

Visas can be applied for in person at the Chinese consulate/embassy or can be ordered via post.

When applying for your visa to China, you’ll need to provide either a letter of invitation from a Chinese friend, relative, or a Chinese company , or provide a detailed itinerary of your intended trip. This includes return flights and confirmed reservations for your hotel bookings.

9. Booking Hotels in China

If you want some flexibility with your itinerary, make use of sites that do not require an upfront payment to make bookings.

Booking.com is a good option that you get free cancellation on most rooms.

Some Chinese websites like C-Trip or eLong require no deposit to book rooms too, and you can cancel without penalty once your visa is approved.

Local Booking sites normally offer better rates than western ones. Be sure to compare them.

10. Travel Insurance for China

Travel insurance is a must for any kind of travels.

There are way too many travel insurance options, buy from big companies and make sure to insure valuable items such as cameras, laptops etc too.

11. Keep Your Passport with You All the Time

You’ll need your passport for showing you identity and use it for booking hotels, tickets etc.

Stay Connected

12. Get a VPN for China

When you visit China, keep in mind that many western websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and most of the Google selection are blocked by the GFW. If you want to access these while you’re visiting China, you’ll need to purchase a VPN.

I personally tried many VPNs, and finally decided to stay with ExpressVPN since it is the most reliable one.

Get ExpressVPN Now

13. Buy a Telecommunication Package

International roaming in China might be quite expensive.

Consult your carriers to buy a dedicated international travel package for China during your travel.

14. Get a local SIM Card in China

China’s local telecommunication rate is far cheaper than international roaming.

China’s major carriers include China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. SIM cards can be purchased at the airport or at most corner stores, and credit is quite affordable.

Most Chinese SIMs are locked to the province in which they are purchased, so you’ll pay roaming charges when texting, calling, or using data outside of this province.

15. Download WeChat

WeChat (WeiXin in Chinese) is first app that I would recommend to download if you want to be connected with China customers.

16. Must Have Apps

Many Chinese apps would make your travel in China easier, like Maps, and Taxi Hailing Apps.

Here is a short but useful list and you can choose what you need to download.

Transit In China

17. Get to the Airport Early

In China, it is a normal practice to get to the airport three hours early for international flights and two hours early for domestic flights.

Traffic jams in peak hours in China big cities are quite serious.

You’d better avoid the rush hours or get to leave for the airport earlier.

18. Expect Delays of Flights

It’s interesting that most flights in China can not leave the airport on time.

But don’t be late to arrive at the airport.

You need to be prepared to wait in the airport, or in the plane, although it won’t be too long for most cases.

19. G-Trains Are Amazing

China’s built a fantastic network of high speed G-trains.

You can travel across the country by trains, and it’s more punctual than flights.

It takes you only about 5 hours from Beijing to Shanghai via G-Train.

Trains rates are quite affordable.

Most new rail station for G-Trains are huge and similar, many of them are far out of the city center.

20. Crowded Subways and Buses in Rush Hours

Subways and Buses are convenient and the fare is really cheap.

But it will be extremely crowded in rush hours.

My suggestion is to avoid peak hours.

21. Taxi Hailing in China

Taxis in China are cheap and plentiful. You can use many apps (WeChat, Alipay, Didi Chuxing, Meituan, etc) to hail a taxi or a sharing car.

Most drivers will not speak English. It’s a good idea to get your destination address written in Chinese by somebody at your hotel.

22. Driving in China

If you are not living here for long, self-driving is not a good idea since it really needs some practices for newbies.

Prepare a China’s local driver’s license or an International driver’s license if you insist.

23. Rent a Bike

Bike sharing is popular in China and you can ride a bike to make your local sightseeing really efficient.

Effective Business Relationship

24. Build Personal Relationships and Win the Trust

Business relationships are built formally after the Chinese get to know you.

Doing business in China is based heavily on personal relationships, which is called Guanxi.

If you are not a friend, you are basically not a trusted business partner.

25. Be Very Patient

Normally it takes a considerable amount of time.

Decisions are unlikely to be made during the meeting.

They may take a long time.

Careful reviews and considerations are necessary.

You need time to find the right influencers and the real decision maker.

You will also need to break through enormous bureaucracy if your client is a big company.

Your Chinese clients, big or small, need time to test you to see whether you are honest and reliable.

26. Do Not Rely Too Much On Contracts

Contracts are important, but do not rely too much on them.

Try to accumulate as little Chinese debt as possible.

Don’t deliver too much before getting paid, or pay too much before getting something delivered.

I always start with discovery contracts as pilot projects for most consulting cases.

Start some trial orders first to see whether it really works.

27. Leave Room for Negotiation

Your starting offer should always leave room for negotiation.

You must be willing to show compromise and ensure Chinese negotiators feel they have gained major concessions.

28. DON’T Assume “Yes” Means Yes

Don’t be pushy.

“We will think about it”, “I will look into it” sometimes means no.

Try to figure out the reason behind the hesitance and try to find an alternative solution.

29. Gifts Are Good, But Do Not Bribe

One-sided gift-giving is awkward and sometimes improper gifts might be even considered as bribery.

It’s best to arrange through your assistant or intermediary to see whether exchanging gifts is a good idea.

30. DON’T Assume “NO” Means NO

Gifts may be refused once, twice or even three times before they are accepted.

This is the Chinese tradition to show the humble attitude to accept any gift.

Money

31. Accept RMB Only

The official currency of China is the yuan.

Normally, Chinese businesses do not accept any other currency, including the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar.

32. Mobile Payment is Popular

WePay and Alipay are increasingly popular in mainland China.

Foreigners can also apply for WePay and Alipay with a local bank account.

It is very convenient, but it needs several days to set it up.

33. Prepare Cash

More and more businesses in China (particularly large hotel chains and upscale restaurants) now accept Visa and Mastercard, but the most widely accepted card scheme is still UnionPay.

For foreign travellers, you’ll still need to pay with cash in most situations.

34. Exchange Currency at ATMs in China

Many Chinese banks do not accept foreign cards.

But you can find larger chains such as HSBC to withdraw Chinese RMB from your bank accounts. In this way, you will get a far better exchange rate than services such as Travelex.

International ATMs are available in all major cities but it will be very hard to find in small cities or rural areas in China.

35. Tell Your Bank About Your China Travel

Before you go to China, make sure your bank knows you’re going to use your credit or debit card over there.

Otherwise, your card might be disabled or your transactions might be cancelled for “unusual transactions”.

Chinese Culture

36. Numbers

Four is an unlucky number because it sounds like the word “death” in mandarin Chinese.

So do not give four of anything.

Six is considered a blessing for smoothness and progress.

Eight is the luckiest number in Chinese culture, so giving eight of something brings luck to the recipient.

37. Cold Water Is Seldom Available

Cold water is seldom available in China since it’s impolite in Chinese culture.

Don’t be frightened if you can only drink hot tea, hot coffee or hot water.

Sometimes, you can get iced coke in foreign invested companies, but that is quite rare in Chinese invested companies.

38. No Tips in China

The Chinese do not tip, and people are not expecting tips.

Tipping is not officially forbidden, but it is not common, most service staff in local hotels, restaurants, and taxis do no expect tips.

Most local restaurants forbid the employees to take tips….

No tipping does not mean you don’t like the service.

Don’t be guilty of this.

Shopping In China

39. Price Bargaining

Do not negotiate price in hotels, chain stores and boutiques.

But you can, and should negotiate the price for anything you want to buy from private vendors.

In these stores or booths, never accept the marked price or first price offered.

It’s always possible to get products for a fraction of the quoted price.

40. Mail Things Home from China

It’s common for many business travelers to buy a lot of things in China.

A good suggestion is to post these products home using China Post’s sea mail.

It will take a little bit long, say, one to two months,  but is a very affordable way.

Manage Your Health

41. Tap Water Is Not Drinkable

For the most part of China, tap water in China is not drinkable.

You can buy bottled water everywhere at a very cheap price.

42. Air Pollution

In many large cities in China, air pollution is a serious problem.

Wear masks on days with hazardous air pollution or do not go out in these days.

43. See A Doctor in China

Chinese public hospitals can be very crowded.​

In most major cities, there are specialized hospitals catering to foreigners living and working in China.

Most doctors can speak English.

44. Medicine at Reasonable Price

You can find both western and eastern medicine at Chinese pharmacies.

And the price is very reasonable.

Business Meals In China

45. Building Your Relationships in Chinese Banquets

Entertaining guests at a Chinese banquet is a very popular and important way to establish the relationship.

Do not discuss specific business issues during the meal.

46. Seat Arrangements

Do not rush to take a seat down.

Wait and the host will arrange the seat for you.

47. No Sales Pitch at the Dinner Table

Do Not open the computer and make sales pitch at the dinner table.

However, It really happens.:)

An American guy put his notebook on the dinner table and made a long sales pitch when all the dishes were ready, turning cold.

This is a true story happened last summer in Quanjude, a famous Beijing duck restaurant.

All the people on the same table are quite embarrassed, not knowing whether they can eat, or not.

So I list this as a separate tip.

48. Share the Food

In most Chinese dinners, dishes are almost always ordered communally and shared.

Ask for a spoon and a fork if you are not good at chopsticks.

49. Try Everything

It is polite to try everything that is offered to you.

If you don’t like it, just try only a little bit.

50. Family Dinners

If you are invited to attend family dinners, consider it a great honor.

And it is the opportunity to establish a personal relationship.

You can get the chance to know the couple, the kids of your Chinese customer.

Many Chinese parents want their children to speak good English.

Don’t be surprised if they ask their children to practice English with you.

51. Drink Some Wine

Drinking is an important part in Chinese entertaining.

If you can, drink some wine, but not too much.

Be prepared with an appropriate toast.

52. Do Not Pour Your Own Drink

It is the responsibility of the host to attend to the guests.

The person seated next to you may pour a drink for you.

You should reciprocate.

53. Do Not Sign any Deal After Drink

Leave these stuff to following days.

54. After-Dinner Entertainment

Like dining together, after-dinner entertainment is an excellent way to build a personal relationship.

55. Don’t Wait For Service in Restaurants

Conventional western service is only in limited number of western restaurants.

In Chinese restaurants, Chinese waiters and waitresses aren’t as proactive as you think.

Don’t be afraid to throw your hands up and call for the service guy (“fuwuyuan” in Chinese) if you want any service.

56. Real Chinese Food

You will discover thousands of dishes you’ve never seen.

And, the Chinese food in China is totally different from the Chinese food in any Chinese restaurant in a western country.

A Diversified And Vast Country

57. Learn Some Chinese

Most Chinese people don’t speak English. It is advisable to write down basic phrases in (Simplified) Chinese, use a help of a friend or a translator.

It will be nice and friendly to start your introduction with some Chinese phrases, like Chinese greetings.

If you are willing to learn a new language, try to pick up phrases and useful words from the locals. Most of them will be eager to help you in learning Chinese, or even their own dialects!

And, not everyone in China speaks Mandarin.

There are many different dialects in China, the most common of which include Mandarin and Cantonese.

58. China is Big

China is vast and huge, geograophically.

You will see different terrains, landscapes.

Chinese People are speaking different dialects in different regions.

59. Understand The Unbalanced China

Well, China is a big country but not well balanced.

Big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen etc, are fully developed with best education, medical resources and job opportunities, while many lower tiers of small to middle cities and rural areas are totally different.

It’s worth your visit if you want to get a more comprehensive picture of real China.

60. Taking photos in China

Finally, Chinese people love to take pictures, not only pictures during travels, but also selfies.

You will get attention as a foreigner in many places, esp. small cities or rural areas.

It will be quite normal if a local Chinese comes up to ask for a picture with you.

If you want to take a picture with other people or a government building, Always ask for permission.

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Profitable Online Business Ideas You Can Start in China

Most Profitable Online Business Ideas You Can Start in China

Here are some most profitable online business ideas in China to inspire your entrepreneurial passion.

Starting a business in China can be fun and much easier. You can quickly start an online business and run it with very little cost.

 

Chinese Web Design Business

Chinese Web Design Business

Every business owner wants a fully localized, fast and strong Chinese website when the business is expanding to China.

However, most Chinese websites that made for China market could not work, at all.

Which means predictable further losses and waste in Chinese Digital marketing investment in the near future.

A poorly designed website kills the credibility of the new business.

You can launch a Chinese web design service to create attractive, easy-to-use and China ready websites for overseas small businesses.

 

Chinese Social Media Consultant

online business ideas in China: Chinese social media consultant

Chinese Social media marketing is an integral part of business operations in China.

​While very limited large companies hire their full-time staff to run their WeChat, Weibo, Baidu accounts, most foreign businesses would outsource this important job to digital marketing or social media marketing agencies.

China’s social media landscape is way too much different from western world.

Every foreign business needs a totally different social media strategy and this is your job.

Many business owners realize this and the number of inquiries on WeChat marketing and Social Media marketing is increasing every month.

You can work as a consultant to help the clients determine the best tactics, and content plan for their target audience.

Or, you can ​be more involved to do the copywriting jobs too.

  • Phil, my business partner in France, started a digital marketing agency five years ago. He  focuses his business on Chinese social media marketing and Chinese online reputation management.

 

Business Coaching

online business ideas in China: business coaching

If you possess rich business experience and special knowledge, why not creating a coaching business to help more entrepreneurs to be successful?

Use your brain and skills to help new startup executives get off to a good start, and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand.

  • Chao’s China business coaching successfully helped interior designers, architectural designers, restaurant owners, tour guide, app developers, real estate agents, overseas study consultant, copywriters, etc.

I’ve coached hundreds of business owners, startup executives, and freelancers how to start  new businesses, and scale their existing business through my executive coaching.

Online coaching is super fast to get started with your online business and you can charge premium price for your quality work.

First, you will need to write some premium content to build your authority in the niche market.

The best way to bring in clients for this business is to attract them by your quality content and word of mouth.

 

Run Your Web Store

Online business ideas in China: Run your web store

Build your web store and sell overseas products to Chinese consumers.

China has the most advanced technology that favors online businesses and trading platforms.

Source your products from overseas, and find out what Chinese consumers love and when they will buy from your website.

A key for success is that you need make sure your website is fully localized and adapted to the China market.

Also you need to understand the cross-border eCommerce strategy and policies.

Here are 31 questions to make sure whether you are ready for selling online to China.

 

Source from China and Sell to the World

Online business ideas in China: Source from China

In China, you can find many low cost products and sell them to the market you are familiar with.

Finding good suppliers is always tricky.

Hire a China sourcing agent and make this job easier.

But different sourcing agents bring different results.

 

Sell Software / Apps

Online business ideas in China: sell software and apps

Almost every programmer is dreaming to get some, even a small share of the huge Chinese market.

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.

The biggest challenge in China is localization and pricing.

  • Many Chinese consumers and businesses are not willing to pay high prices for software while Chinese local developers sell software at rock bottom prices.
  • However, highly specialized industrial/commercial software is recalling selling well in China even with the same global pricing.
  • New generation of young Chinese people is more willing to pay for online services.

 

Online Teaching

online business ideas in China: Online Teaching

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

Remote online teaching ​can be a brilliant idea to start your online business in China, without your physical presence in the Middle Kingdom.

​Do not only limit your business on English teaching, there are many areas you can offer online tutoring services:

  • Overseas test preparation: SAT, GMAT
  • Art lessons
  • A new language: Spanish, French, Italian, …
  • Digital marketing skills
  • Marketing training
  • Writing skills
  • other professional skills

 

Sell Online Courses

online business ideas in China: Selling Online Courses

A more rewarding and low risk model is selling online courses.

This is one of my favorite online business ideas.

A well established online education business can scale incredibly.

Find a proper niche market that you are good at and you could be able to reach out to millions of people.

Chaoacademy.com, is an online business school offering courses for Chinese cross-border freelancers and small online business startup owners.

Selling online courses requires a lot of work to be done in advance, but needs less maintenance work over time.

 

Business Consulting

online business ideas in China: business consulting

Consulting can be very profitable if you are really good in some thing that people need.

And consulting can be done through skype/phone​ only, if you want.

I offer my China business consulting to overseas SMEs and freelancers expanding their businesses to China.

We help them gauge the direction and business scalability through proper China business planning and China market entry strategy.

There are plenty of consulting business opportunities for you in China, since it is now the most fast developing and dynamic economy in the world and many people needs experts to solve their specific problems in various areas.

Many people started their consulting business for the China market, some are helping foreign businesses enter into the China market, while some others are helping Chinese business go global.

  • Paul, my Flemish friend from South Africa, is building the bridge between Africa and China.

Did I Miss Any Better Online Business Ideas ?

Share in the comments if I’m missing any awesome profitable and feasible online business ideas that you can start!

Share your website or anything relevant if you’ve already gotten it started.

Want to find a profitable niche business idea in China this week? Read my free online guide Find a Profitable Niche Market in China today!

 

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Popular Websites Blocked in China by the Firewall

Popular Websites Blocked in China by the Great Firewall

 

As you may know, many popular foreign websites blocked in China bring troubles to frequent users of these sites.

The only way to access to these sites is with a proxy or with a VPN Service,

​This often causes a lot of inconvenience especially for foreign travelers, expats, staff working in foreign invested companies in China, and some small business owners dealing in foreign trade, who has got used to visit these websites.

What are these websites and why they are blocked in China?

Why Some Websites Are Blocked in China

If you don’t completely comply with the Chinese government’s regulations in censoring sensitive information, there’s a good chance the Great Firewall of China will shut you down.

Major reasons why some popular sites are blocked in China:

  • The website content violate Chinese law (including pornographic, gambling or terrorist content).
  • The site contains discordant elements, such as politically sensitive information.
  • Domestic DNS instability.
  • The IP of the website falls in the same IP segment of other blocked websites.

Be sure that you will not make these mistakes.

Websites in China: Blocked, Not Blocked?

 

Foreign Services / Websites Blocked in China

Google Maps, Best Maps App in China

We list these overseas popular websites/services which are blocked in China at the moment.

The list might be changing and it is just for reference.​

 

Foreign Services / Websites Working in China

Not all foreign websites/services are blocked, here are some typical popular foreign websites which are working fine in China. Some services can work in China with a local partner running a fully localized China business, like Skype.

China Local Websites/Services

The absence of most foreign popular websites leaves the opportunity for many internet startups in China.

Popular Websites Blocked in China

 

Social Media Platforms Blocked

 

Most major social networking platforms, blog platforms, Image sharing platforms and it is the biggest category of websites blocked in China.

  • Facebook: since July 2009
  • Twitter: from 2009 to present
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+: since July 2011
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • Picasa: from July 2009 to present
  • Plurk: from April 2009 to present
  • WordPress.com: from October 2011 to present
  • Blogspot: since May 2009, to present
  • Blogger
  • Flickr
  • SoundCloud
  • Hootsuite
  • Kakao Talk
  • Line
  • WhatsApp (partially from Jul. 2017)
  • Xing

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Social Media Platforms Working in China

 

  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Wechat
  • Weibo
  • QQ

We only list some typical ones working in China.

 

Search Engines Blocked

 

  • Google
  • Duck Duck Go
  • Technorati: from July 2008 to present

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Search Engines Working

 

  • Baidu
  • 360
  • Sougou
  • Bing

 

Newspaper, News Agency Websites Blocked

  • The New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Economist
  • Bloomberg
  • Reuters
  • LeMonde
  • L’Equipe
  • Google News

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News Websites Working

  • CNN
  • BBC

 

Video Websites Blocked

 

  • Netflix
  • Youtube: from March 2009 to present
  • Vimeo
  • Hulu
  • DailyMotion

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Video Sharing Websites Working

  • Youku TuDou
  • Tencent Video
  • iQiyi
  • Sohu Video

 

Wiki / Knowledge Sharing Websites Blocked

 

  • Wikipedia
  • Wikileaks: since Nov 2010

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Wiki / Knowledge Sharing Websites Working

 

  • Quora
  • Zhihu
  • Baidu Baike
  • Hudong Baike

 

Work Tools/Services Blocked

Generally all Google services and many very nice web services are blocked.

Google Maps, Best Maps App in China

  • Gmail
  • Google Maps
  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs
  • Google Calendar
  • Dropbox: from May 2010
  • ShutterStock
  • iStockPhotos
  • WayBackMachine
  • many Proxy, and VPN sites.

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Work Tools/Services Working

  • Google Translate
  • Evernote
  • Skype
  • Trello

 

Porn / Gambling / Illegal

All web sites with pornographic, gambling, terrorist & political sensitive content have been blocked.

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Apps Blocked

Without Google Play working in China, promoting Android apps in China is interesting and challenging since there are hundreds of Android app markets to choose from. Without a VPN you won’t be able to download any apps from Google Play.

 

  • Google Play
  • Apps for all the relevant websites and services mentioned to be blocked in this page.

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36 Things to Check Before Launching a Website in China

Launching a website in China

You are probably quite stressful when launching a website in China, typically when it is your first time. 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 […]

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Best Map App in China That Works

With a good map app in China, you will never get lost.

Here is a list of best map apps that work in China. 

Best Map Apps in China

1. Google Maps 谷歌地图

Google Maps, Best Maps App in China

Google Maps is the best comprehensive maps service throughout China, as it is fully available in English and makes it easy to navigate around even if you don’t speak the language. 

The Power Pack: Google Maps + VPN

As for now, this google-powered service is blocked and cannot work in China without VPN. We recommend you to use Google Maps together with ExpressVPN, the best VPN for China. So you don’t need to bother installing other Map Apps.

2. Autonavi Navigation 高德导航

Autonavi Navigation

Autonavi Navigation is China’s most popular in-car GPS with maps iPhone app. Now it supports English language.

You can download offline map packs by city and province.​

3. Baidu Maps 百度地图

Baidu Maps

Since Google (and therefore Google Maps) is blocked in China, this is the best way to properly navigate around town. However, you need to be able to type in Chinese! The app works the same like Google Maps, which lets you calculate directions. However, Baidu Maps makes it possible to check accurate bus schedules and even shows you prices for taxis!

4. Apple Maps 苹果地图

Apple Maps

Apple Maps in China is becoming solid after IOS 9 released in 2015. And the map data is licensed from AutoNavi.

Now, It's Your Turn.

What's the Best China Map App in Your Eyes?

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Wechat Payment Foreigner Guide

WeChat Payment Foreigner Guide

Wechat Payment for Foreigners in China WeChat is aggressively trying to expand outside China. Now many foreigners can use WeChat payments in order to handle their purchases. WeChat Payment is available for foreigners living in China and using Chinese banks, although not with all banks.   What Can You Do With WeChat Payment (WePay, WeChat Pay)? […]

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TOP 11 Golden Rules for Doing Business in China

Every businessman is doing business in China, or planning to do,  because “it’s the right place to go”. Before creating your China market entry strategy, read these rules…   Golden Rules For Doing Business In China Rule 1. Nothing is Too Easy Don’t be fooled by “It’s easy to make money in China.” You need […]

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Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

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.

Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners

1. Online Shops, Trading Platforms 

Selling To China, Online Now!

China’s e-commerce has recently surpassed the US’s in size of annual revenue.

It’s no surprise that more and more foreign companies are targeting this highly lucrative and rapidly growing market.

Choose a right niche market in China,

Then, you can open a web store or a platform to make some good money.

For Online business in China, You can get the most advanced technology and convenient support.

Your Opportunities

  • Build your web store and sell overseas products to Chinese consumers. China has the most advanced technology that favors online businesses and trading platforms. Source your products from overseas, find out what Chinese consumers love and when they will buy from your website.
  • Act as a China Sourcing Agent : source products from China and sell them to the global customers. You can find most low cost products in China, leaving you with profitable margin to build your online business.
  • Design and develop your own products, and build up your own brand backed with strong manufacturing capabilities in China.

Key to Success

The Chinese Internet landscape is different from that in the West.

You will need

 

2. Online Business / Services

 

How to Start Your Online Business in China?

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.

Your Opportunities

You can

It is a light asset business model.

The key is to Find Your Profitable Niche in China, and make full use of your skills, knowledge and resources.

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

Key to Success

3. Chinese Online Marketing

 

Start your business to serve those businesses expanding their businesses into the China market.

Most foreign companies, big or small, will invest in Chinese online marketing to get traffic and leads.

Your Opportunities

It is also a light asset business model.

The key is to find a local Chinese online marketing agency to handle all the detailed work, you can focus on getting clients,

Key to Success

 

4. 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.

Various Potential Profitable Markets

  • English
  • Art
  • Music
  • Science
  • Foreign Tests
  • Technology

etc

Teaching English in China

Foreign English teachers are given work in various institutions in China:

  • Kindergartens
  • Boarding Schools
  • Summer Camps
  • Universities
  • Private schools

Foreign English teachers earn more than average local English teachers.

An English tutoring service in China requires small capital to start and run, and it might be a good choice for you.

Online Mandarin Courses

  • Offer online mandarin courses to Mandarin learners from around the world.
  • Provide online Mandarins tutoring services
  • Provide Mandarin learning strategies and practical training techniques

Online Education in China

Online education is more scalable,

and it is booming now in China.

Selling online courses and online coaching is one of the great business opportunities in China.

It will be a great opportunity in the next 20 years.

Chao Magic English School (www.chaoenglish.com) offers online course on effective English learning method, consultation and coaching services.  (Chao Magic English: Best Way to Teach English Online in China )

Your Opportunities

  • Offer after-school private tutoring services.
  • Starting your own evening English Classes for business people.
  • Teaching English online in China targeting on millions of Chinese students, kids, and businessmen aiming to improve their English.
  • Inspired by the best way to learn Chinese, 1 on 1 Chinese tutoring is another business opportunity.

Key to Success

5. Tourism

 

Nowadays Chinese tourists are traveling everywhere.

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

Chinese international travel will become a major source of growth for travel providers in destination countries.

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

Your Opportunities

The travel and tourism sector in China is still relatively undeveloped, it offers some of the best opportunities in the consumer industry. Companies entering now will be able to set standards and guide consumers in their shopping behavior.

  • Overseas medical tourism
  • Overseas summer camp
  • Business tours
  • Theme tours
  • Invest in hotels in China
  • Promote your hotels to China travelers
  • Online booking services

Key to Success

6. 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.

Your Opportunities

  • 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.

Key to Success

 

7. Healthcare

 

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

China Healthcare Market is still in an early stage, and Chinese people are expecting more diversified products and services.

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

Many good nutritional supplements are not produced in China.

Your Opportunities

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

Key to Success

Healthcare is a minefield of regulation, corruption and/or other assorted difficulties.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Entertainment

 

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

11. Food / Wine

 

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

It is amazing!

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

All our clients are fighting through the local requirements to get their food product into China.

Wine is especially popular in the large cities of China (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou).

There is a great potential for wines given the increasing disposable income of local people.

Key to Success

12. 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.

China has relaxed its land-ownership rights for farmers.

We can expect quite some changes in the next decade.

Farmers will be able to trade their lands, which will give way to larger farms and provides a boost in rural communities’ economies.

Your Opportunities

  • horticulture
  • green houses
  • professional lighting equipment
  • productivity enhancing services including education and technology.

13. 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.

14. Wealth Management

 

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

They are eager to broaden their investment portfolios.

Banking and wealth management have now become one of the biggest areas of foreign direct investment in China.

Your Opportunities

  • Financial services on banking, insurance, funds management, securities, securitisation and futures.
  • Overseas property sales

Key to Success

15. 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.

The biggest challenge in China is localization and pricing.

Normally Chinese local developers sell software at rock bottom prices.

Because many Chinese consumers and businesses are not willing to pay high prices for software.

However, highly specialized industrial/commercial software is recalling selling well in China even with the same global pricing.

Key to Success

 

16. Clean Technology / Ecological

 

China has its pollution problems as we all know.

The air pollution and Deterioration of drinking water quality continue to be major problems in China.

China government is investing in the development of new green technologies to battle against pollution.

The green technology is a strategic industry in China and offers subsidies and incentives to foreign companies with the right solution.

Your Opportunities

    • Clean energy,
    • Anti-pollution products,
    • Afforestation projects,
    • Garden landscape engineering,
    • Waste water management
    • Water filtration systems.

 

Key to Success

It is challenging to get through some policy and connection problems before you can break into the China market.

 

17. 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 Find Your Perfect Business Opportunities in China?

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

Furthermore, I’m sure you will get inspired by 101 China Business Ideas.

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

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What’s the Best Way to Promote My App in China?

Best Way to Promote My App in China

How to promote my app in China? Promoting apps in China is a challenging task for overseas developers. Basically social network is cost effective and you can get the most out from a good Chinese online reputation management.   Best Ways to Promote Apps in the China Market Here I am sharing the best ways to promote your […]

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101 China Business Ideas

Alex, a car dealer in LA, USA, asked me whether I could provide a longer list of specific China business ideas, after reading Most Profitable Business Opportunities in China for Foreigners.

Alex told me that he want to build some new business and China is his new target.

OK, here we go, let’s name it “101 China Business Ideas” first, though we might not finish it today.

Please let me know your best business ideas in China market and we can include it in this list if it is interesting and practical.

101 China Business Ideas

101 China Business Ideas

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