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29/08/2017  l  Meet The Frustrated China Export Manager
During my daily encounters with China export managers of European companies I often see a lot of irritation – and  even frustration –  about their China project. I am not referring to the difficulty of doing business in China or the slow development of their project; I am talking about their frustration about the lack of understanding and involvement from the top management of their company. Many China export managers find it very difficult to convince their top management...

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06/06/2017  l  Market access barriers when exporting food products to China: PART 2
There are quite a few barriers and regulatory issues when importing food and beverages into China, such as import duties, sanitary restrictions, registrations and certifications, quality standards, packaging and labeling requirements, all of which can sometimes make it challenging for foreign food and beverage companies to fully exploit the market. Before you consider exporting your food products to China, it is advisable to explore whether or not there are any trade barriers for your products....

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08/05/2017  l  Opportunities in the Chinese Food Business: PART 1
With an annual GDP growth rate of around 7-8 % over the last few years, the increase of income and demand for quality of life, a growing number of Chinese consumers are joining the Chinese middle class. Due to many recent scandals in the food sector in China, Chinese consumers generally consider imported food products to be healthier and of better quality. As a result, the imported food product market has significantly developed in recent years, not only in quantity but also in quality. China&rs...

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24/04/2017  l  Cross-border e-commerce for European SMEs
As a foreign company, if you want to open your web shop on one of the domestic e-commerce platforms in China, such as Tmall, or any other domestic platform, you need to have your own subsidiary in Mainland China. Alternatively you can also work with a Chinese trade agent, distributor or any other Chinese partner with a legal entity in China. However, since Chinese trade agents are usually cautious to have unsold goods in their warehouse in China (the risk of not selling is on the legal en...

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22/03/2017  l  Is the Chinese Superpower a Threat or an Opportunity?
This blog post is an adaptation and translation of a column written by Bart Horsten for the Belgian economic newspaper De Tijd (4 March 2017). See the original article in Dutch here. European companies often hold misconceptions that they still possess a technological advantage over their Chinese counterparts and that China is eagerly awaiting their arrival. The contrary is true, China has an advantage in many sectors, for example in cleantech industries and internet technology. Afte...

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21/11/2016  l  Six Recommendations for SMEs When Entering China
Western SMEs often lack the resources to invest heavily in China and only have one chance to do it right. Reports have shown that almost half of start-up projects in China fail within the first two years. Therefore, it is not only extremely important for SMEs to be well prepared and select the right entry mode for China, but also to find a way to follow up and master the project once it’s started. Here are some key recommendations for Western SMEs when considering a China venture: Stay...

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25/09/2016  l  Must-have Apps in China (Part 2)
After we published the first part of this blog in June 2016, please find here part 2 of this blog. 1. QQ QQ – pronounced ‘coco’ in Chinese – began as an instant messaging service for desktop, much like MSN and AOL, and used to be China’s most popular instant messaging service for many a year until the rise of Wechat. It must have been a strange few years for QQ, being overshadowed by an APP from the same company Tencent. Up until 2013 you would ask a person&rsqu...

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22/06/2016  l  Must-have Apps in China (Part 1)
You just arrived in China and all of a sudden you discover your most beloved apps stopped working. Why? The Chinese Great Firewall! Surely something you’ve heard about before. What many people don’t realize though is that it not only blocks websites, but all content which the Chinese government deems inappropriate, including mobile apps. Due to the government’s efforts to create a sort of Chinese intranet, Chinese tech companies have been able to develop and experiment relative...

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31/05/2016  l  Is Alibaba Heaven on Earth for Belgian Brands?
On May 23rd, 2016 Belgium’s King Philip and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma met in Brussels. Same as last year, Jack Ma announced that Brussels is getting its own Alibaba office. A consolation prize, considering Belgium lost the ‘bid’ for Alibaba’s Benelux Headquarters to Amsterdam not that long ago.  Still, the arrival of the Chinese e-commerce giant is welcomed by many business owners, who desperately seek to tap into the vast China market. And sure, while the physical presen...

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10/05/2016  l  Differences between Chinese and Western Websites
Our company often organizes seminars about the ins and outs of doing business in China. A while back, we did a presentation for a group of businesses who plan to venture out to the China market. One of the things we like to touch upon in our presentations is the advantage of having a Chinese-language website and being active on Chinese social media. At this business gathering one of the participants posed the following question, “What’s the difference between a Chinese and a Western ...

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