Exporting products to China and preparing for the Chinese market

More and more Western companies decide to start exporting their products to China. Many of them produce and export foods such as dairy products, sweets, or alcohol. When doing so, it is essential to know that the exported food needs to have the right certificates. Besides ensuring the product fulfills all formal requirements, adjusting it to Chinese consumers is crucial. In this article, you will find useful marketing methods that will help you sell products, especially foods, on the Chinese market.

Exporting products to China

Here are some helpful practices for preparing food, food products, and packaging before exporting to China.

Logo in Chinese

At the start of exporting products to China, you should be aware that not all Chinese people are fluent in English. It is much easier for them to remember a Chinese name for the product rather than foreign-sounding words. Therefore, it is necessary to adjust the logo. The original design can still be on the packaging, but one in Chinese is also needed.

There are three ways of placing the new logo on the packaging. The first is leaving the original packaging as it is and putting a sticker with Chinese characters over it, and the second is printing new packaging with the Chinese characters only. We recommend the third option, leaving the original logo and simply adding the Chinese one next to it or on the other side of the product.

The best way to make a Chinese logo is to hire a translator to decide on a proper Chinese name for the brand. It can be either a direct or a phonetic translation of the original. The characters should be chosen carefully, too, so they will bring positive associations. If the translation is done poorly, it can have the opposite effect and only discourage potential clients.

When exporting merchandise to China, you should be mindful of the cultural differences and the new market’s challenges. Many manufacturers are used to their brand as it is and are reluctant to adjust to the Chinese consumer. For that, take notice that even a global brand like Coca-Cola adjusts to the market, using a different name – 可口可乐 (Kěkǒu kělè).

Coca cola in China

Exporting products to China – small portions in packages

Chinese people tend to eat smaller portions at once, so all food should be packaged in smaller amounts. It applies to both the amount of food in the package as well as the package itself. For instance, instead of big bottles, beverages are usually sold in small cans. Products are also often put in smaller packages inside the big ones; for example, cookies are packaged separately inside one box. This practice makes it easier to share food with others, which is appreciated in China. The two-piece Snickers bar is quite popular there for that very reason.

Beef jerky in China

Chinese New Year’s special editions

Sweets and other foods are often gifted to family members or employees on Chinese New Year’s. When buying gifts for that occasion, Chinese consumers usually prefer to buy special edition Chinese New Year’s goods. An adequately prepared product can encourage customers to choose it over another. Special Chinese New Year’s items are similar to Christmas-themed products in western countries.

There is no need for color scheme changes when exporting to China overall, but it is important to change it when it comes to Chinese New Year’s products. The colors red and gold should be used, as in Chinese culture, they symbolize happiness and success, which accompany the wishes given with the gift.

Exporting products to China vodka

Flavors fit for the Chinese taste

People living in Asia have different tastes than people in Western countries. To ensure the product fits the Chinese consumers, we encourage you to adjust it. Western products might be fine, too, but think about changing the flavor to suit local tastes to promote and differentiate your product from others. One-of-a-kind editions of foods can be found only in China, for example, green tea flavor Kit Kat bars, chili Snickers, or vodka with lychee.

Sweets in China

When you begin exporting products to China, remember that it is worth adjusting both the packaging and the product to the target consumer. A successful trade hugely depends on understanding your country and China’s cultural differences and taking them into account in business. Products adjusted specifically for the Chinese market will likely gather more interest, and therefore the manufacturer has a larger chance of gaining success exporting to China.