Business Intelligence | Exploring the Chinese food market

The Project

The “New Frontiers in Food – Fast Forward” (NF4) project is a fast track internationalization accelerator for innovation-intensive food SMEs. Within this project, the main objective is to stimulate joint internationalization of European food SMEs in four target countries, including China. In the Chinese food market, the value chain which has the main focus is processed food.

The Acceleration Services

With this project the clusters aim to provide a full package of acceleration services with the objective to boost international innovation collaboration and business development of European food SMEs in China. With these acceleration activities, the SMEs can fully prepare for the Innovation Tour and gain insight in the Chinese food market and approach to enter this market. The activities include the following

  • Business intelligence
    To get to know the country and the nutritional trends, a report with market information will be mad available.
  •  Preparation & Coaching
    In this preparation, experts will provide personalized training to the SMEs. Experts of the Chinese market, Chinese food law and marketing strategy will be involved and provide specified advice. The first preparation activity for China is a breakfast session ‘exploring the Chinese market’ scheduled the 13th of February.
  • Innovation Tour China
    The NF4-project organizes an innovation tour to the target countries to jointly investigate the opportunities and challenges of the Chinese food market. During this tour the SMEs are encouraged to schedule b2b meetings and join the NF4 project to participation in the SIAL Shanghai and matchmaking events in Shanghai and Xiamen. SMEs are stimulated to join the Innovation tour by applying for an Innovation Voucher.

The Innovation Tour China

From the 12th of May to the 17th of May, the NF4-consortia organizes the Innovation Tour to China to explore and enter the Chinese food market. The main focus of this innovation tour will be on the value chain of processed foods, in which SME’s dealing with processed foods or ingredients can investigate the possibilities and challenges of doing business in China. With this tour two important agri-food regions in China will be visited, including a visit to Xiamen (Fujian) and Shanghai, SIAL China 2019.

SIAL Shanghai is the third largest food and beverage exhibition in the world. Over 100.000 professionals in this industry will be present during the SIAL and more than 3000 experts will show their products related to food innovation. Next to a visit to Shanghai, this tour also includes a visit to Xiamen, where  Sino-Europe Agricultural Development Centre (SEADC) & Foodvalley China Fujian, will welcome us and facilitate matchmaking and company visits in this agriculture and food region.

Interested in finding out more? Contact Tjerna Ellenbroek:

The program includes:

  • Company visits in Xiamen (Province of Fujian)
  • Visit of SIAL Shanghai
  • Matchmaking and network reception with stakeholders
Sunday 12th May Flight from Europe to Xiamen
Monday 13th May Network reception & Matchmaking Xiamen
Tuesday 14th May Company visits Xiamen
Flight from Xiamen to Shanghai
Network reception & Matchmaking Shanghai
Wednesday 15th May SIAL China 2019
Thursday 16th May SIAL China 2019
Friday 17th May Flight from Shanghai to Europe

Would you like to apply for an Innovation Voucher? Click here and apply from the 15th of December.

Business Intelligence China

1) Build trust

The Chinese ‘GuanXi’ has been diabolized by a lot of people. In the western countries, people participate in networking activities, when they detect opportunities, negotiations will follow. However, in China, the most profitable collaboration needs time to build, which is illustrated perfectly by the meaning of ‘GuanXi’. ‘GuanXi’ can be translated in ‘Relationships’ with your personal network, connections and trust.

Presentation materials: you can easily observe that a lot of Chinese people use ‘physical prosperity’ images in their visual support. Those pictures can be a photo of the building, the factory, the laboratory, the storage facility, etc. You can also do the same, this will give a trust feeling to the counterparty as they virtually saw your company. Visit the place > see the picture > nothing

Keep in touch: Would you like to have a long-term successful partnership with Chinese? You have to spend a lot of time, discuss and exchange with them about business and no-business topics. Lack of ideas of conversation? Publish your ‘life’ on the social media. Sharing your news is another way to keep in touch with your partners, eliminate strangeness, and they will know more about ‘you’.

3) Language

In the business world, English is often used. In China, the new generation (90-00s) study English at their early age. However, make sure your partner has good speaking skills.

  • Materials: it is always good to have bilingual materials for the final decision maker who may not speak English.
  • Translator: you can pay a translator for your meetings, you should train them with your business culture, product characteristics, etc. Try to have the same translator for the same partner. Stability is important.

2) Long-term ongoing goals

A lot of western businesses complain about the opportunistic behavior in China. If you do not have a long-term goal, your Chinese partner will easily  switch to another cheaper, innovative product which will maximize his profits.

Want to avoid that? You have to build a reliable relationship with your partner, communicate with them, ask them the market reactions constantly for your products, the new market trends, etc. The collaboration will be more successful when both parties invested time and efforts.

4) Gifts

In China, government policy considers gifts as bribes. However, in the business world, gift-giving is laxer, as this can be a welcome sign. In addition, when you have a deeper relation, it is always good to offer territorial goods to your partner, like a delicious box of chocolate.

Color: when you hesitate for the packaging/ gift-wrapped, gold or red color are always a good choice. There is an exception for ink, you should better avoid offer a pen with red ink. Do not take notes with red ink pen, and the most important thing: do not write your partner’s name using red ink pen, at least not in front of them. Because this is usually associated with the death. There are several explanations:

  1. In the ancient times, the name of prisoner with death penalty was written in red.
  2. According to the legend, the emperor of the death world uses red pen to decide the next decease.
  3. Even now, the name is written on red on the tombstone.

Source: Wagralim International Team