Mapping China: Fashion - Unique Selling Point
What is the unique selling point you have to enter the Chinese fashion market? It’s a question you should ask yourself before you reach to the east, according to Ching Ping Au and Ching Foe Au, two sisters who run consultancy company Your Op.
Au sisters: ‘What do you have to offer China’
There are plenty of opportunities in the Chinese fashion world for the Dutch business community. The crucial question is: how to differentiate your products from those of others? Find the answer, and you can take significant steps on the Chinese market, say Ching Ping Au and Ching Foe Au of consultancy agency Your Op.
The two sisters - born in the Netherlands but with parents from China - assist Western companies who want to enter the Chinese market, expand their business or find the right partners in China. They also organize trade missions – already for seven years - and business trips to the Asian country.
In short, they know what it is like as a Dutch company to enter the Chinese market. They know the routes, and exactly for that reason they were asked to organize trade missions for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to ensure a good matchmaking for participants.
“In fact, this is a relatively cheap way for entrepreneurs who want to do business in China”, says the Amsterdam-based managing director Ching Ping Au, who gave a presentation last year at a meeting about the opportunities of the Dutch fashion world in China.
“If a minister joins a trade delegation, it will open doors. Chinese companies get convinced you are trustworthy, otherwise you may not join the minister. "
The Netherlands has a good reputation when it comes to designers, also in fashion, she emphasizes. ,,There really are many opportunities. But the main question that everyone should ask himself is: how does my product distinguish itself from that of competitors? In other words, what is your USP, your unique selling point? "
The sisters Au have experienced before that entrepreneurs are very enthusiastic, but still sometimes misjudge the reality. Ching Ping Au: ,,Just an example: if an entrepreneur on a trade mission asks us to arrange a meeting with Jack Ma of Ali Baba, we think: why would Jack Ma sit around the table with you? What is his benefit? "
You should see it the other way. Netherlands is not so important for China, but China is very important for Netherlands. ,,Because there is such a huge market, with - again, that's definitely true - many possibilities. But the Chinese do business with the whole world. Many business owners in many countries are very eager to enter the Chinese market as well", says Ching Foe Au, who runs the office of Your Op in Shanghai.
That does of course not mean that Dutch have little chance on business success. On the contrary, China is very interested in good products. As long as, you should keep this in mind, the importance of cultural differences are recognized and respected.
“Example: if you have a beautiful piece of clothing in the color purple, you have to wonder if that color is also very suitable for China. Because it is a success in the Netherlands, does not mean that it will also be a success in China. "
Large multinationals always keep this in mind. Like Apple, which takes explicit account when designing new products with the taste of the Chinese. The color gold example, is very popular in Asia because it would bring prosperity. The ‘golden’ edition of the iPhone sells in the country far better than other colors.
Likewise purple is very popular in China, knows Ching Ping Au. “Purple is a mysterious color, which can refer to spirituality. Good to remember. Such a futile detail can make a big difference. "