1. Study the market
Before establishing into any market, you have to study it. First, we must see what appeals the Chinese people: in the field of cosmetics, the Chinese do not have the same desires and demands that the Western people. Indeed, Western people buy self- tanning creams while Chinese favor whitening creams. We must also check whether the market is not already saturated: as China is a promising market, more and more companies are creating or foreign firms are settling in China. Despite this, Western companies are likely to succeed in China because the Chinese are fascinated by Western products as they consider them better than Chinese products. Indeed, the Chinese market is comprised largely of Western brands and some of them occupy rank in the top 10.
2. Product Registration
It is imperative to register its products before exporting them. For this, there are some essential steps as designating a Chinese REP and declare to the SFDA. Then there is testing to check the products and a license is issued.
3. Identify distributors at trade shows
To settle in China, we must find distributors: they will sell your products to a store for consumers and they will buy. Trade shows exist in the world with as main theme, cosmetics. There are suppliers, retailers and distributors from around the world. To find a distributor we can try to locate it on a show dedicated to cosmetics. These rooms can be found in China as in anywhere in the world where China will be represented. Why finding distributors on a show? Simply because if the distributor is in this trade show, then it seeks suppliers, companies to work with. Like many companies wish to operate in China, they are looking for distributors. Some distributors have more applications than they would like but others can still distribute, and it’s on shows that we will be able to find this kind of distributors (ie : Cosmoprof, in Hong Kong).
4. Invest in brand awareness in China
A brand in China only work if it is known and has notoriety. Indeed, the Chinese prefer brands that are known and trusted rather than the new brands that nobody knows to avoid unpleasant surprises. So we have to invest in brand awareness in China. This involves having a website in Chinese preferably as all Chinese do not speak another language, and also to be very active on the Internet. For this, we can have a blog and write articles regularly: this will create a follow-up, and will inform consumers about news. Articles should contain articles about the company and its products, but also testimonials from satisfied customers to show that the company is reliable and that its products are appreciated. Then Social Medias should be used: on the 630 million Internet users in China, about 90% use social networks. They are used for brand awareness and to gather information. For even more weight on social networks, we must partner with KOL, or Key Opinion Leaders. These are very influential people on social networks and their followers expect a lot from their advice. If you make a partnership with a KOL, he will speak about your cosmetic brand and your products will be known. In the same vein, you can also create partnerships with Chinese stars. The most used Social networks are Weibo, a microblogging platform and WeChat an instant messaging application that also includes a news feed. These two social networks have respectively 600 million and 400 million users who spend a lot of time on it.
5. Use social networks to create a community
To become famous, we can use social networks to create a community. A community is a group of people who follow the news and events of a brand, and they are loyal people. Having customers is a good thing, but having loyal customers is even better because you are sure to sell products anytime. Social networks are the fastest way to create a community: indeed, anyone can easily view news, and benefits can be put in place (private sales, special offers, etc ...).
6. Facilitate distribution network
Animating a distribution network will allow to facilitate distribution process and to increase sales. To do this, we can provide trade information, support materials for sale, provide training, organize actions of financial stimuli, and participate in events.
7. Check on copies or excesses of certain distributors
China as we know is used to copy a lot of things whether products or concepts. Therefore, we have to check that no product is copied or looks too close to something we did. So we have to regularly check the new products of our competitors.