7 Effective strategies for Industrial Companies in China

If you are a sales manager, a CEO in the industry in China or in charge of the development of export and the Chinese market: -You want to develop your sales? -You want find new clients? -Develop in new market? -Want to do effective B2B marketing in China -You want to know last trends for industrial companies in China in 2024? THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOU  The year 2024 has been a real roller coaster and has been marked by many economic, energetic, and political events and challenges. Chinese President Xi Jinping poses for his annual new year address on the eve of 2023 on Dec 31, An interesting fact is that the president has focused on the importance of the FDI and plan to implement new measures to encourage them, especially in R&D, the modernization of logistic, and industries. Progressing toward the 0-carbon emissions objective set by China for 2060, he also wants to encourage Cleantech FDI. China still needs foreign technologies and innovations. This fall, 2 new foreign factories started their production. Rosenberg, an EV cable manufacturer in Guangdong, and BASF in Jiangsu produce plastic for the EV industry as well. China needs these foreign companies to cope with the rising demand for electric vehicles. Despite slowdowns during the first semester because of the mentioned events, Chinese production increased by 6.3 % in September compared with the same month last year. Helped by governmental measures. This introduction brings hope and optimism to all the B2B companies who want to jump into the market, the opportunities are still big. The important thing is to stay aware of the changes and be ready to adapt to the market. In terms of strategy for B2B companies in the Chinese market, marketing plays a central role to succeed. Some companies with great potential failed in this market for neglecting its importance. Facing the limitation of travel and the digitalization of trade, marketing has increasing importance in China. How to make sure to implement a good marketing strategy for B2B business in China in 2022. With more than 1 billion Chinese netizens, China has already deployed a massive digitalization. As an illustration, banknotes are disappearing slowly replaced by the digital payment monopolized by WeChat pay and Alipay. (The first-tier to third-tier netizens use digital payments to pay up to 80% of what they buy)

1- The digitalization of businesses in China

The trend toward digitalization of businesses has been accelerated since the massive lockdowns at the beginning of 2022. Tight controls making travels (even) inside China hard to plan. As an illustration, this year visitors to the 5th China International Import Expo, in Shanghai, must face strict requirements to access the event. (Be vaccinated and have received a booster 14 days before entering the event, 2 PCR tests, providing their travel history of the last 10 days, not having traveled in places with covid cases…). The online visibility of industrial companies who want to develop their business in China is the cornerstone of their success to reach Chinese buyers. What are the key points to reach them in 2022? Beforehand, it is important how the Chinese buyer proceed to reach suppliers. Even before the Covid 19 and the closure of the Chinese borders, Chinese buyers tend to source their suppliers and partners online. Also pushed by the tiredness of the non-stop flow of commercial phone calls and mailing. They have been using the Chinese internet, the leader of search engines being Baidu, to find their suppliers. And the trend has accelerated since the zero covid policy seems to be durable in the eyes of the Chinese top leaders. Using the Chinese digital tool is more than ever crucial to reach your Chinese buyers. You have to make sure that the tools you are using will be instinctive and sufficiently comprehensive for the buyers to have a smoother experience with you, and convince them to go further with you.

2- Your Chinese Website, still matter in 2024

Your website is like your showcase, the first contact point with your Chinese buyers. You must take special care of it. An English version will not be suitable. Even if more and more Chinese speak English, they don’t do their research in English. After all, you would not do your online research in Chinese on Google, right? Having a website in mandarin is mandatory. Not only for the buyer’s comfort but also because the Chinese search engines don’t reference well English content. And make sure to get a translation of high quality to avoid confusion made by automatic translation. No linkedin, no Google Another thing that foreign realize at first is that the Chinese internet is cut from the outside world. China has its own internet « ecosystem ». Because of the great firewall, the Chinese don’t have access to content outside of China, no google, no Facebook, no Instagram, no LinkedIn…Meaning that if your website is hosted in the EU, USA…Chinese users won’t have access to it. The solution is therefore to host your website locally either in China Mainland or Hong Kong to make sure your site will be accessible on Baidu. Please note as well, that since the censorship on the Chinese internet is stronger and stronger, make sure not to share “sensible” content that could block your website. (e.g.: Xinjiang related topic or more surprising avoid mentioning Winnie the Poo, a nickname given by the Chinese to their president, that doesn’t seem to please him)

3- Your ranking on Baidu

Competition in China is fierce for industrial companies, and the digital space makes no exception. To be found easily on the Chinese internet you need to have a solid SEO strategy dedicated to Baidu. The choice of the right keywords is as important on Baidu as it is on Google to arrive on the first page. The use of generic keywords is expensive and it long to get referenced. Using long-tailed keywords is more efficient to optimize your strategy. For example, if you are a manufacturer of cables for electric vehicles, don’t invest in generic keywords like “cable”, but something like “high-end cables for electric vehicles”. Take time to analyze the conversion rate of the keywords. Some have less research volume but have a higher conversion rate. Being well-referenced means that buyers will find you easily, which also implies that you will receive requests (leads) from potential clients. Depending on the industry, it is possible with this strategy to receive hundreds of requests per month. All the demands from China in your industry can be attracted and centralized easily and efficiently. It is with a good SEO strategy and a strong reputation strategy that one of our clients, a major manufacturer of card printing machines, succeeded in China and gains 10 new customers each month. Where a classic commercial strategy with a full-time team of 10 sales failed using phone calls and mailing.

4-Your reputation matter in China

It is the keystone, the cement for your success, it is an element that is mostly neglected but it is the most important for your marketing strategy as an industrial firm. Because in China, what is important is what people say about you, not what you are saying. Your reputation outside of China will have no importance. But what is said in China about your company and products will be seen as a reference by potential buyers. Because the market is full of scams and fakes, the Chinese will not grant you any trust in newcomers in the market if they don’t have a strong reputation here. It is therefore crucial to work on your word of mouth in the Chinese digital space. Chinese buyers will check your reputation prior to making any business with you. They will check online for advice, feedback from their peers, and your users to evaluate your credibility. They have different online tools to do so : *Forums: In China, the use of specialized forums for the search of info is very common, it is a reflex to check on companies’ credibility. The biggest and most used forum in China is called Zhihu. Buyers will ask questions here or look for posts related to you, if some users already have some positive experience with you, what did they think about your services… *Online articles: B2B Chinese buyers read a lot of online specialised press to keep up with the news in their industries. It is seen as a reliable source to evaluate the reputation of a company. The online press is considered reliable, so if some speak about you it will reinforce your image. China PR - press release - B2B Marketing education market * KOL: I guess you are surprised? We are not talking about the fashion kind of influencers. We are thinking of recognized professional experts in their industry that can speak about your company and your products. Chinese influencers agencies have catalogs with influencers for all kinds of businesses. Industrial buyers also rely on, and trust, the advice of these influents professionals to evaluate your reputation. Read more
B2B Marketing in China: Guide to Master Lead Generation

5- Social media in China : be connected to your potential clients

Social media play a non-neglecting and more and more important role for B2B companies who want to reach their Chinese buyers. Indeed, they are fully integrated into Chinese personal and professional life. Wechat is without a doubt the most ubiquitous one. They use it to pay, buy online, take appointments…and mostly used it as their favorite mean of communication. Their whole life revolves around this app. It is therefore used to keep in touch with their suppliers, and professional partners. Almost every company in China has an official account on WeChat. Used a way to communicate with their client, helping them to share their information easily (mini website, e-brochure, news…). A company without a Wechat account reduces its chances to maintain contact with its potential clients, nurture them, and transform them into clients.
WeChat B2B Marketing in China
If WeChat is the must-have social media app for B2B companies, some new « trends » are surprising. Indeed, more and more Chinese B2B companies use apps like Douyin (TikTok) to reach younger B2B Chinese buyers. Companies share on this app short videos showing the application of their products in real situation use. They can also have their own company page where interested buyers can contact them via a form.

6- The use of e-commerce platforms

It is interesting to see that more and more factories,  B2B buyers are using e-commerce platforms to buy what they need online. The value of the B2B transaction on e-commerce platforms reached 29.11 billion RMB last year, against only 6.25 billion ten years ago. The B2B e-commerce market can be divided into 2 categories: on one side the generalist platforms like Gongpinyouxuan, 1688… and on the other side e-commerce platforms specialized by industry: chemical, electronic, agriculture…

7- Video on Douyin, must to have in 2024

leveraging Douyin for B2B marketing, specifically tailored video for an industrial firm in China, it can works suepr well. Douyin B2B industry Strategy in China tiktok

High-Impact Douyin Strategy for Industrial Firms

  1. Show, Don’t Tell:
    • Cof course, high-impact videos showcasing the machinery-factory in action. Let the power and precision of your products capture the audience’s attention.
  2. Expert Endorsements:
    • Partner with well-known industry experts to deliver quick, insightful reviews or demonstrations of your products on Douyin. Their authority can massively boost your credibility.
  3. Problem-Solving Content:
    • Address common industry challenges in your videos. Show how your solutions save the day, making complex concepts simple and demonstrating ROI in real time.
  4. Real Results, Real Customers:
    • Share short, compelling testimonials from satisfied customers. Focus on how your equipment or service has transformed their operations.
  5. Live Demos and Q&A:
    • Host live sessions where you demo your products and field real-time questions from potential buyers. This interactive format is not only engaging but also helps in real-time lead generation.
  6. Targeted Ad Blasts:
    • Use Douyin’s targeted advertising to zero in on industry professionals. Ensure your content reaches the decision-makers who matter.
  7. Data-Driven Tweaks:
    • Constantly refine your strategy based on analytics. Know what works, and double down on it for maximized engagement and conversion.

Implementation Essentials

  • Launch with a Bang: Start your Douyin campaign with a strong, clear message. Make sure your first impression sets the tone for what’s to come.
  • Engage Actively: Don’t just post and ghost. Stay active by engaging with comments, questions, and feedback promptly.
  • Iterate and Optimize: Regularly review performance metrics and adapt your content strategy to hone in on what delivers the best results.

Bottom Line

For industrial firms in China, Douyin is not just about visibility. It’s about demonstrating capability and building trust with every clip. Make each second count with content that educates, engages, and converts.

Is China still the factory of the world ?

Yes, China remains the “factory of the world.” 10 facts to support this:
  1. China is the largest manufacturing economy in the world by total output.
  2. It produces about 28% of global manufacturing output.
  3. The country is the world’s biggest exporter of goods.
  4. China is a global leader in the production of steel, cement, aluminum, and textiles.
  5. It dominates in the electronics manufacturing sector, producing a significant portion of the world’s consumer electronics.
  6. China is the largest producer of automobiles in the world.
  7. The country is home to multiple Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial clusters which are hubs of manufacturing for various industries.
  8. Over 60% of the world’s photovoltaic (solar) panels are made in China.
  9. It is also the world’s largest producer of ships.
  10. The Belt and Road Initiative is expanding China’s manufacturing and economic influence globally.

What major firms have factories in China?

MOST major global companies have established manufacturing operations in China, taking advantage of the country’s large labor, cost efficient infrastructure, , established supply chains, and infrastructure.
  1. Apple Inc. – Apple relies heavily on Chinese manufacturing for assembly of most of its products, including iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Major suppliers like Foxconn and Pegatron have large facilities in China dedicated to Apple products.
  2. Volkswagen AG – One of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world, Volkswagen operates several joint ventures in China, including FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen, which are among the largest passenger car makers in China.
  3. Samsung Electronics – While Samsung has shifted some of its production to other countries, it still maintains significant operations in China, particularly in the production of electronic components and some assembly lines.
  4. Intel Corporation – Intel has multiple facilities in China, including assembly and test sites, as well as research and development centers. These facilities are crucial for Intel’s global supply chain.
  5. General Motors (GM) – GM operates through various joint ventures in China such as SAIC General Motors and SAIC-GM-Wuling. China has been a major market for GM, where it manufactures and sells a wide range of vehicles.
  6. Tesla, Inc. – Tesla opened its first factory outside the United States in Shanghai, known as Gigafactory 3, which is pivotal for Tesla’s global strategy, especially for serving the Asian market.
  7. BASF – The German chemical giant BASF has several joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, operating large-scale chemical plants.
  8. Siemens AG – Siemens has a broad presence in China with numerous joint ventures and wholly-owned enterprises, manufacturing a wide range of products from industrial equipment to healthcare devices.
  9. Nike, Inc. – While not directly owning factories, Nike contracts with numerous manufacturing facilities in China to produce a significant portion of its footwear and apparel.
  10. Foxconn Technology Group – As one of the largest contract electronics manufacturers in the world, Foxconn, although a Taiwanese company, operates massive factories in China that assemble products for many global tech companies, including Apple, Dell, and HP.
These companies represent just a fraction of the international businesses that have invested in manufacturing operations in China, drawn by the country’s robust industrial capabilities and strategic market position.
20 tips for B2B companies to succeed in China
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B2B Marketing in China: Guide to Master Lead Generation


They are still opportunities to seize in China. A lot of events have influenced and will continue to influence an accelerating trend toward digitalization of the buying practices of B2B buyers in China. Be ready.

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