China is the fastest growing emerging market, and unofficially the largest economy on the globe. Although it offers vast prospects for an expanding business, the chances of success without sufficient knowledge and expertise is, to be frank, considered slim. With a theoretical market of 1.5 billion people and a culture which has embraced the ethics of western business.
Foreign investment walks hand-in-hand with China's decision to finally welcome in the outside world, especially the West. Expanding a business in China, then, should not fear a cold shoulder, rather the overwhelming business environment that the country has wholeheartedly constructed and consumed since the 1970s. Both enterprising and intimidating in equal measure, China offers an entrepreneurial economy for expanding businesses, and is now so powerful that it sets the global benchmark for prices: the China Price is practically a synonym for the world's lowest cost, with suppliers even often asking their biggest clients to open factories, or at least find subcontractors, on its soil.
Over the past quarter-of-a-century, China has experienced big changes. The former agrarian economy has transformed from a market with limited private sector into the manufacturing base of the world. This expedient development has opened the doors to vast opportunities for starting a businesses in China in all major sectors, including energy, technology, engineering, healthcare and finance.
Business is a risk wherever you do it but perhaps expanding a business into China exemplifies this more than in any other country. Integral to your success is both the protection of intellectual property and a shrewd understanding of cultural protocol. Most pitfalls in business can be avoided by meticulous research and preparation and China is no exception. If you are ever in doubt, seek either professional or legal guidance before setting up a business in China.
China's biggest challenge is also it's biggest advantage and that's its size. With a market potential of 1.5 billion people, China is set to become second largest consumer market in the world by 2015. Other challenges which are typically found in China include an uneven spread of regulations; starting a business in China means facing local protectionism, intellectual property violation and the emphasis on building very close business relationships with business partners.
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