China Market Guide

How to Do Business with China

There are two aspects of the subject. One is trade, the import and export of goods. In another word, what you want to buy from China or what you want sell to China. The other is the economic aspect that involves setting up a manufacturing operation in China and then selling products in or out of tile country. In tile latter situation, you need to find a partner or may do it by yourself.

On trade, you may like to know what kind of products China export and import in its 280 billion dollars foreign trade. This information is available in materials publicized by China's Customs General Administration. You may find many products are among China's export list, from light industrial products and textiles to agricultural products and native specialties, from general machinery to heavy-duty machinery and equipment, etc. You may also find Chinese products are quite competitive in either price or quality.

Every year, China's major cities hold some export trade fairs. Among the most known ones, there are: China Export Commodities' Fair (also known as "Canton Fair") which is held twice a year in the city of Guangzhou in late April and late October, the Export Commodities' Fairs in Shanghai, Tianjin, and Qingdao in March, and tile Fairs in Dalian early July and Mid-August in Kunming. You may get a general picture and first-hand understanding of China's export commodities while visiting the fairs. So, it is advisable to visit the fairs to any buyer of Chinese products.

One should also bear in mind that not all the companies and factories in, China can export directly. A foreign buyer must go through an entity with a license of export, which is usually state-owned and professional trade company.

A first-time foreign sellers to the Chinese market may feel a bit difficult for there is not such a trade fair and potential Chinese buyers do not publicize their intention in advance. The foreign seller then should grasp any relevant business information, or make offers to the possible buyers.

The Economic and Commercial Section of the Chinese Consulate is willing to serve any local business people interested in doing business with China. It provides background information on the above mentioned trade fairs and recommend Chinese trade companies as potential buyers or suppliers. Of Course, it is up to your efforts if business could be concluded.

When it comes to investing in China, it is advisable to go there in person and learn the situation and environment for investment. Each local government has a special department responsible for utilizing foreign investment. Such a government agency is the right contact for a foreign investor in search of a partner or government approval or you can also look for a partner through your own channel. If the proposed project is owned all by your company (a wholly foreign owned enterprise), you may need more help from a local government.

It is important to understand the laws and regulations in order to invest in China. Besides those made by the central government, you may also need to know some regulations made by the local government. You should have a good communication with the local government in order to make all the procedures go smoothly. Commission of Foreign Trade and Economic cooperation usually is the name of such a government agency, which address telephone and fax numbers are available at the Economic and Commercial Section of the Chinese Consulate.

American investors can take the opportunities to know more about situations and projects in China at some trade shows or investment conferences here which are frequently held by visiting business groups from China's provinces and localities. In short, there are many ways to do business with China.