Asia is usually viewed by western people as one big country. This is the main and biggest error companies can make when they break into the Asian market.
When we speak about China, we are speaking about the largest country in terms of population with a landmass of 9.572.000km2. This is approximately 19 times the size of Spain. China has 22 provinces and each province has its own language and culture. The country´s demography is located mainly on the east coast of the country. This is the most developed area of China and where Shanghai, the financial city of the world, is located.
Each day I used to take the bus to work. My office was located in a small town (around 500,000 persons) about 1.5 hours from Shanghai. In that town they speak their own language. So does Shanghai. The culture of these two places is completely different even if it is just a trip of one and a half hours.
When I go to Guilin (South China) it seems a completely different world that is not comparable to any country in Europe. China is a continent. European companies should adapt their marketing and expansion strategies depending on the areas they are targeting. Companies would apply the same strategy if they want to enter the German market or the Turkish market. The distance between Shanghai and Beijing is the same distance as that from Barcelona to London. Marketing strategies, the way of selling the product and the relationship between the different agents and government must change from north to south and from east to west.
Author – Xavier Aubareda
This article was written by Xavier Aubareda and is written from his experience of working in China. AddSeco works as a consultant in China for AGM Abogados.