China’s GDP registered another year of impressive growth in 2021 with an annual growth rate of 8.1%. And for the first time, China’s GDP per capita surpassed the global GDP per capita average at US$12,000, a significant milestone for the country.
- Among the industries, the EV industry showed tremendous growth of 145.6%, while industrial robotics grew by 44.9%. Integrated circuits and micro computing equipment also saw significant growth. The services industry, such as satellite and TV services, cash and fintech services, and capital market financial services, were above 60% growth.
- Online consumption continued to be the engine of retail growth.
Outlook for 2022
China’s GDP is forecasted to grow by 5.5%. To reach that, China is likely to adopt more expansionary policies to support its economic growth this year. The focus will be the Three Horses of the Chinese Economy (consumption, investment, and net export).
Most sectors are set to benefit from the government’s substantial policy adjustments. More investment is expected to pour into “new infrastructure” – categorized by new energy and EV. There is also emphasis on the “social infrastructure” (e.g. education, healthcare, social insurance), and “system Infrastructure” (i.e. capital market development, tax reductions and IP protection).
On your marks
China introduced a new Foreign Investment Law in 2020 with fewer restrictions on sectors, more protection and enhanced regulator transparency. If you believe China is the market where you want to have a presence, then you should consider taking advantage of 2022 to negotiate the best possible local government support.
You can get the ball rolling without having to visit China by using support on the ground. For example, Crayfish has the local resources to help you get things done in Greater China right now. They managed to open offices for clients in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Taiwan throughout Covid-hit 2020 and 2021.
How can you kickstart or re-engage the Chinese market and grasp the window of opportunity more quickly than your competitors so you don’t miss out?
Here are some quick wins:
Information: First, bring yourself up to date about what’s happening in China in your industry to aid your decision making. What product lines have the best chance of success in the post Covid world? What are the implications and areas you need to adapt following the 2021 regulations blizzard? Which companies appear to be the right partners who can open doors for you and get your sales going in China?
Language: Do you know that most people in China do not speak English? To get your target customers to understand your business exactly, you need to properly localise (not just translate!) your marketing messages as well your communication channels. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a simple Chinese website that starts bringing you traffic directly from China?
Talent: Finally, people are what make or break a business in China. The first half of 2022 is a good time to search and snatch up the digital and tech talent. There were considerable layoffs in a number of industries in late 2021 because of regulation clampdown, so there may be the right people available now to help your business.
A Thousand Miles’ Journey
When Ting Zhang set out to develop Crayfish.io a few years ago, it was all about harnessing cutting edge platform technology to connect businesses with English-Chinese bilingual freelancing individuals, to provide services from translation and marketing to research and business development.
Crayfish’s business model has since evolved, such that they have subsequently added some carefully selected niche agencies and boutique consultancies as our providers, for clients’ projects that require more manpower and teamwork. And they have made their digital platform even smarter by launching 78 off-the-shelf business services at competitive rates, available 24/7 online, extending the geographic coverage to East and SE Asia. For the more complex nature of work, Crayfish now offers troubleshooting, advisory and project management.
From Ting’s own (over two decades’) experience in doing business in the Far East, it is a dynamic process where all elements need to be in place at the right time. Most Western businesses find it hard to navigate such a process without help, as illustrated in some the examples of enquiries we received from the UK since the New Year:
- A vocational training college is looking for partners to develop its business in China
- A software company wants to gather market insights to better assess emerging opportunities
- A biotech SME is seeking help in crafting its business strategy in a new territory inside China
- An environment technology exporter is searching for a replacement for its inactive Chinese distributor
- A sensor manufacturer want help with implementation of a new B2B digital marketing strategy which we helped to develop in 2020
A popular Chinese quote goes “the future is bright while the road is tortuous.” As the Year of the Tiger is upon us, I hope we all get the spirit of a tiger to become even more upbeat, fearless and focused.
To get going, take advantage of some free useful tools and specialist insights available at Crayfish.io:
Ting Zhang is the CEO & Founder of Crayfish.io, a digital service platform that offers businesses the quality services and global connections needed to accelerate their international expansion, with a focus on Asia. www.crayfish.io. Ting is also a Member of Advisory Board at UK National Committee on China (UKNCC).