Australia and China’s free trade agreement will mark huge changes to Australia’s exporters. Australian exporters from all industries – agriculture, fashion, wine, automotive parts, pharmaceutical, will be clambering over each other to get their hands on Chinese consumers who look for the next bargain.
Although the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) may make your goods more affordable due to the elimination of tariffs, this won’t be enough to attract and retain Chinese consumers. These are the four ways Australian businesses can make the most of ChAFTA.
Protect your brand
If you have a quality brand, there’s a significant chance that your products are already selling in China. Many unauthorised resellers of goods in China import from countries such as Australia and resell the products on China’s many e-marketplaces.
Although purchases from unauthorised resellers still profit Australian businesses, this can mean severe damage to your brand. Incorrect translations and product descriptions can wreak havoc on the brand you’ve spent years cultivating.
Australian businesses need to stay on the defensive and protect their brand by establishing a Chinese-language website. An official Chinese website can discredit the unauthorised resellers, project your desired brand image and reclaim control over your brand in China.
Know your Chinese consumer
Creating a Chinese-language website isn't merely translating or localising your existing English language web presence. Australian businesses need to host their website from either China or its neighbour countries to overcome slow loading speeds.
Businesses who choose to host from China will need a state-issued ICP license to operate legally and "climb over" The Great Firewall. If not, they run the risk of having their website shut down by the Chinese government administration. As all Chinese websites are required to hold an ICP license, it will also instill trust in your brand – an important consideration when the Chinese market is filled with counterfeit products.
Understand where you’re going wrong
ChAFTA is an excellent opportunity for businesses with an established web presence in China to reassess their online strategy to ensure they get heard over their competitors.
Australian businesses with Chinese websites should review their online performance using Chinese web analytics. If you’re targeting the Chinese consumer, Chinese web analytics gives a more accurate assessment of your performance in the local digital environment, including search engines, social media, and traffic sources. Chinese web analytics often provides more detailed information about your web performance compared to Western services. For example, CNZZ and Baidu Tongji provide detailed segmentation of Chinese localities. You can choose to segment your visits by province or city and analyse visits from different regions within China.
Join cross-border e-Commerce
To make the most out of tariff-free trading, Australian businesses should join one of China’s many e-marketplaces. China’s e-Commerce market has been growing exponentially over the past six years. The growth is expected to continue with expected revenue of a staggering ¥16.6 trillion by 2017.
Yet despite the massive opportunity for Australian businesses to sell directly to China’s rapidly expanding middle class on the Internet, Australian companies lag in the competition with other countries.
There are only 23 Australian brands sold on China’s Tmall, and sales volumes are relatively small. E-commerce in China is already a fiercely competitive market, with most of the world’s brands looking to tap into the growing affluent classes there.
Making your products available is step one. It’s hard to be noticed without an effective marketing strategy, especially a digital marketing strategy.