Most of the manufactured goods we buy these days come from China, repeating the successful business strategies of Japan and Korea.
Having the world's largest population means China is not only a large manufacturer, but a large potential market. It is hardly surprising that many businesses want to sell their products to this market.
A good guide to this market, and the only one of its kind, is the ABC (Australian Brands in China) Index 2018. The ABC Index was researched and produced by Dr Eugene Chan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the Monash Business School. It was funded by Digital Crew, the leading global digital marketing group specialising in the Chinese market.
The report canvassed over 5000 Chinese men and women, aged 18 to 57, in the six Chinese regions of Hebei, Beijing, Shanxi, Tianjin, Guangdong and Shanghai.
The important thing to note from this research is that you don't have to be a big brand. For example, although well known brands Qantas, Coles and Chemist Warehouse were in the Top 10 best selling brands, the number one position was a beauty brand called Australian Creams.
The Australian Creams range is produced by NSW family business G & M Cosmetics. Brands better known in Australia, such as QV Skincare and Jurlique, came lower in the list.
Dr Chan explains that brands recognised in China were either known because people had visited Australia, or friends and family had recommended them, or they found them online. That knowledge is more important than having a factory or distributor in China.
This can be seen in the current “dai gou” practice, where people buy products in Australia to send home to relatives and friends in China. It is much quicker than waiting for a company to set up all the necessary connections and partnerships in China.
One other very strong element is trust. Many Chinese have a lot of faith in the quality of Australian products. After 2008, when batches of Chinese powdered milk were revealed to be toxic, Chinese consumers lost faith in their own country's products. The result, continuing to this day, is bulk buying of Australian powdered milk and baby formula.