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Billion-dollar tech startup founder’s one tip to breaking into the Chinese market

Jack Zhang's top tip to breaking into the Chinese market. Source: Getty

Airwallex founder Lucy Liu will be speaking on the founder’s panel at Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit on the 26th of September. Join us for this groundbreaking event.

Despite some fallout from the US-China trade war, the Chinese market remains one of the most lucrative markets in the world.

Last year, Chinese consumers accounted for $165 billion, or over a third, of the $513 billion global market for high-end shoes, bags, fashion, jewellery and watches.

And it’s a huge opportunity for Australian entrepreneurs aiming for global scale and impact in tech, e-commerce, software, fashion and consumer products.

Billion-dollar tech startup Airwallex understood the potential of the Chinese market, and chose to build their business with Chinese business culture in mind.

“The scale of the Chinese market is what makes it such an attractive proposition,” Zhang told Yahoo Finance.

“With almost 1.4 billion people and a growing middle class, even a small piece of the market can exceed what market leaders in Europe and North America take. With this brings intense competition, with competitors working quickly to the first and best to market. Agility and iteration are key to success in the Chinese market.”

So how did Zhang and his fellow Airwallex founders break into the market?

Jack Zhang’s key tip to breaking into China’s market

Zhang told Yahoo Finance the key to the Chinese market is understanding the differences in culture, and catering to that.

“Airwallex has a deep understanding of Chinese business culture,” Zhang said.

“We knew very early on that dragging and dropping the strategy behind our Australian business model wouldn’t get us very far.

“Instead, we built from the ground up, taking into full consideration the unique complexities of the Chinese market.

“Things that we take for granted or are considered the norm in Australia – for example, the 9-5 concept for the working day – don’t translate into the Chinese market.

“It’s so important to understand how and when your customers want to connect and make sure you meet those expectations.”

On top of that, Zhang said demonstrating local ties to the market can help boost your chances of success in China.

“Entry strategies that include partnerships or joint ventures work towards removing the ‘outsider’ factor,” he said.

“The power of strong local relationships, especially in the regulated industries, should not be underestimated. Establishing a strong in-market network should be a top strategic priority for businesses looking to expand into China.”

Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit is on the 26th of September 2019 at the Shangri-La, Sydney. Check out the full line-up of speakers and agenda for this groundbreaking event here.

Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit is on the 26th of September 2019 in the Shangri-La, Sydney. Source: Yahoo Finance