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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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13/04/2016  l  Don't forget your common sense when doing business in China
Everybody views China as a potential export market, and everybody is aware of the risks of doing business in China, but for some strange reason many business people seem to lose all common sense when dealing with Chinese companies. The following story happened to one of our customers. You will immediately ask yourself how it was possible that a European company even took the time and effort to keep communicating with this Chinese company for several weeks. Unfortunately it is not a unique case:...

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19/03/2016  l  Do I need to know Chinese to be successful in China? - Bart Horsten
In 2004 - 2005 I had the chance to study Mandarin Chinese by taking private lessons from a Belgian teacher in Antwerp (writing, reading and conversation). My Chinese language skills are still very basic, but I manage to get around in China on my own: I can order food (an important skill as a big fan of Chinese food), catch a taxi and have a basic day-to-day conversation in Chinese. Additionally, when having business diners, it’s a very nice instrument to ‘break the ice’. Unfort...

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10/02/2016  l  Quality in China: important to stay one step ahead!
For many years ‘Made in China’ has been synonymous with ‘bad quality’. Typically, most of the toys, clothing, shoes, etc. were coming from the “factory of the world”, as China was called at the time. Quality was of less importance than the price and the speed of delivery. Today the reality is quite different. Not only costs and salaries have significantly increased in recent years, but also the type and the overall quality of the products have cons...

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04/01/2016  l  Business in China: the concept of face
Everybody always says: “China is the future. If you know Chinese you will have a great opportunity and many doors will open for you.” That might be true but one always has to be careful and be aware of the many cultural differences that might exist. One of these cultural differences is the existence of ‘face’. What is face? Face is a concept deeply rooted in Chinese society. It’s not literally your face but a metaphor for a person’s reputation among its ...

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07/12/2015  l  Why set up a Chinese website?
In this day and age the omnipresence of the internet has unmistakably and irrevocably changed the way we do business. But even in these digital times, we nonetheless continue to witness companies grossly underestimating the power of a simple website. When companies wish to enter the China market, we see that many of them neglect the importance of creating online visibility in this dynamic market. Frankly speaking, the absence of an online presence in the Chinese digital landscape constitutes a ...

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08/11/2015  l  Can the Chinese be trusted?
When doing business in China or anywhere else in the world, you have to be careful and well-prepared. That seems to be a very logical precondition, but too often we find that Western companies are being cheated by their Chinese business partners. In one of our recent blogs we already told the story of one of our customers who became the victim of trademark squatting, which means that a Chinese company registered the company’s trademark before the Belgian company even started doing business...

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10/10/2015  l  Xi'an as a location
Our company is already active in doing business in and with China since 1996, building on the long term China experience of its founder Joos Horsten, the man behind the successful joint venture of Janssen Pharmaceutical in China. Xi’an-Janssen is based in Xi’an, capital of the Shaanxi Province and one of the first joint ventures in China, set up in the mid eighties. In those years nobody understood why Janssen set up its joint venture in the middle of China, but as my father used...

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01/09/2015  l  How to register a website in China
China now has the world’s largest digital marketplace. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to have a local website registered in China when doing business or when trying to sell in China. We, Horsten International, understood this and decided to set up our Chinese website. Please take a look at In order to obtain this Chinese website a filing to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT) had to be made. This was only possible because we had a subsidia...

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