This week, my colleague Christopher Hughey, our EVP for the Americas region, presented a webinar ‘Doing Business with China‘—a look at Chinese culture, language and communication from the business point of view, as well as tips on how to select a Chinese translation vendor. This event was hosted by the Localization Institute. If you missed out, ‘like’ this blog on its Facebook version and like EC Innovations’ Facebook page and we’ll be sure to notify you when the webinar is repeated.
Christopher’s presentation underscored the importance of partnering with a localization company with an actual footprint in China (and more broadly in the Asia-Pacific area). It is imperative to the corporate strategy of any organization looking to make a long-lasting impression in the region to have these ties. Additionally, a strategically-located localization supplier in China may be a better choice for all international initiatives, given the lower costs associated with having the majority of the production staff offshore.
So first, why even enter China? Some important facts to think about (borrowing from Christopher’s presentation):
- Reach the market: China is the world’s second-largest economy (and expected to be no. 1 within a generation). It also contains20% of the world population
- Reach the web: As a language, Chinese is second only to English in internet dominance (and growing faster than English) As a web population, China is approaching ½ billion internet users. (No shortcuts here! Although many study English, only a small percentage speaks English with any fluency.)
- Reach the future: China’s investment strategy is centered on renewable energy, green technology, software and IT, telecommunications, bioengineering, life science.
So why use a Language Service Provider (LSP) in China to help you succeed there?
‘Guanxi’ is the “complex network of personal connections, relationships and influences” that helps Chinese business people succeed. Just as Chinese companies enjoy immense opportunities in the USA today due to their extended ‘guanxi’, these business and personal relationships are also key to outsiders’ success in China. Having a trusted partner based in China and the APAC region, a partner who understands this complex region and its cultures, is crucial to your growth there.
Further, a cross-cultural LSP in China working in tandem with its American counterparts offers the aptitude to adapt for any organization. To depict how vastly different two organizations can be, let me provide two different but both typical company descriptions with the same ultimate goal of expanding their international presence into Asia:
Organization #1 ‘ABC, Inc.’ is a multinational brand recognized in households globally. They have a distribution network in Asia that they depend on for basic translations and they utilize these resources to provide in-country review of the material completed by a typical localization vendor. The company has been reactive till this point and for the most part this strategy has worked for their overseas target markets.
Organization #2 ‘XYZ, Inc.’ is a much smaller organization that has only recently had some products/services inquiries from the Asia-Pacific region. Their respective marketing/product teams are unsure whether or not to fund localization when there is no clear path on how to make this happen efficiently and effectively. Budget is a main problem here, but as the old adage goes, ‘you have to spend money to make money’. Their general goal is to offset stagnant domestic markets, develop and increase revenue streams, while increasing global brand recognition.
The key to both scenarios is an effective plan of action rooted in a transparent partnership. Outlining these details to your experienced partner with a true local presence allows for a customized solution.
It is beneficial to mention that the great majority of LSPs, especially MLVs (multi-language vendors), have in-country resources (often times freelancers), so a localization company in, say, France will have resources in each global region; but most do not have own-and-operated operations in Asia. That can be very risky for you, because 1) such organizations do not have a true, in-house understanding and expertise in the region and 2) it exposes you to intellectual property risks, since your work is in fact being sent to freelancers in the region with no direct control from the company you’re using.
Besides everything already mentioned, EC Innovations’ advantage being headquartered in Beijing, China, is as follows:
- Low-Overhead Business Model: Engineers, Desktop Publishing Specialist, Project Managers and Operations Staff are offshored there to minimize cost.
- iSEO (International Search Engine Optimization) and iSEM (International Search Engine Marketing) to help you excel on the Web in APAC markets.
- APAC Consulting: This includes most industry verticals.
EC Innovations has extensive experience with organizations within a variety of industries. Some of these companies are entering APAC today for the first time, others did 10 years ago. Either way, EC Innovations has the expertise and experience to help you get there and stay there, all at a price point that makes sense for your organization’s respective initiatives and budgets.