China, the second-largest economy in the world, is brimming with opportunities for foreign businesses, but that is only if companies understand the trends driven by the younger generation, according to experts who have spent years trying to infiltrate the market.
Participating in a startup forum on Oct. 29, South Korean beauty platform operator B2LiNK’s Director Kim Ari said catering to the needs of young Chinese consumers -- often called the Generation Z referring to those in the age range of 15 to 24 -- is important for businesses to take off in the local market.
South Korean beauty platform operator B2LiNK’s Director Kim Ari speaks at a startup conference held by Startup Alliance on Oct. 29.
“Although they are very young, they are also rich, and tend to purchase whatever they want no matter how expensive the products are,” said the marketing expert, adding some Korean cosmetics brands have lost their competitive edge as they have failed to meet the demand of customers in the premium segment.
She also advised companies that want to attract Chinese consumers have to focus on details, rolling out products targeting, for example, men -- a rising group of consumers in the beauty industry.
“The devil is in the details. Just marketing a cosmetic item as ‘natural,’ or ‘organic,’ is not effective anymore these days. Instead you need to detail specific ingredients and benefits your products contain,” the director said.
The fast-growing video streaming market in China can also give startups and creators alike a great opportunity, said Ahn Seung-hye, product general manager at Chinese portal website Baidu.
There are some 1.1 billion mobile users and 96 percent of them watch videos on their smartphones.
“Try to start a small-scale business first and learn while doing it,” said the general manager.
“Also note that building a partnership plays a vital role in successfully entering the region.”
The conference was organized by Startup Alliance, an organization backed by portal giant Naver. The forum consists of three sessions -- China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East -- with companies doing business in each region.
Jay Lee, CEO of medical concierge services provider Himedi; Kim Hye-yeon, CEO of indoor farming solutions startup n.thing; and Jin Choeh ,CEO of human resource platform operator Swingvy attended the forum.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)