You need an old China hand

I read with interest Alicia Clegg’s article “Local Colour” (MW March 8). While I agree that an international presence brings opportunities to transfer knowledge, experience and skills, the article fails to mention the crucial groundwork that is needed to enter these markets.

It is often assumed that the Western agency model can be transported across the world and function just the same. Such an approach is naive and dangerous, and has proved the downfall of many hopefuls looking to break into the Chinese market.

To succeed, it is vital to first establish the regional dynamics of the distribution and retail environment, which may show marked differences to their Western counterparts. This goes a long way in determining the level of sophistication of the market, and the techniques which can realistically be implemented.

Agencies and clients must read the currents of the China market. In both cases, a hands-on approach to tackling regional issues needs heavy investment in field marketing, helping to ease distribution and an effective presence at point of purchase.

Ultimately, there is little question that China’s market potential is vast. But any company attempting to crack an emerging market such as China must take advice from consultants who have genuine local knowledge and a thorough understanding of the region.

David King

Director

Tarantula Responsive Communications

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