Ready for China’s Cross-Border E-commerce? Language as a Key Driver

Cross-border e-commerce is emerging as an excellent channel for Victorian businesses wanting to access the Chinese market without having to set up stores in country. As Chinese consumers seek out genuine, quality international products, the opportunities for Australian brands are boundless. Cross-border isn’t just for big businesses.

In 2016, the number of digital buyers in China was over 460 million, with the total number projected to surpass 650 million this year. By 2020, China’s eCommerce market is predicted to be larger than those of the US, UK, Japan, Germany, and France combined, according to Dezan Shira & Associates. Research firm iResearch China forecasts that China’s eCommerce market will grow 27 percent annually over the next four years.

Victoria’s businesses will have access to millions more international customers now that one of China’s largest online retailers is opening its regional headquarters in Melbourne. JD’s presence in Victoria will help local businesses connect with new customers. Global marketplaces offer an opportunity for Australia’s small and medium business community to grow revenues and profits.

On recent seminar held by one of the biggest e-commerce platforms, Chin was on hand providing Mandarin interpreting

The role language plays in cross-border eCommerce
A recent Forrester report shows that language plays a much bigger role in purchasing decisions because 95% of Chinese online consumers prefer to shop on websites in their own language.

When business plans to expand internationally, the ability to present your product or service to your target market in their native language must be a critical part of your expansion strategy. Native language content must be treated with care. Don’t simply let the platform you are going to sell on providing the language service – they might be good at the commerce side, but some of the content we’ve seen and fixed suggests that the Chinese translation leaves a lot to be desired –  you need to have this properly and carefully set up before you enter the market.

The cultural aspect is more delicate. The art of specialised localization goes beyond literal translation – it also needs to unpack concepts, express emotions, deliver style, and make an impact. It really is crucial to adapt your content in Chinese so as to stay relevant to your target audience.

Protecting your IP in China
Before you embark on the e-commerce platforms, make sure you have your trademarks and names registered in Australia and China: China e-commerce platforms will need to have a merchant’s trademark registration certificate for the products and a letter of authorization to sell the products on their channels.

Intellectual property rights infringement on eCommerce platforms is common in China. Registering your intellectual property is essential. The registration process for a trademark can take up to 18 months, and can only be protected once the application process has been completed. Speak to one of the Chin team for help on this; we work with many clients developing iconic and impactful brand names.

Preparation is particularly important for the China market, so take the time to understand the requirements, protect your valuable property, and make sure the selling messages don’t make you a laughing stock with poor Chinese translations.

2.Tsedal Neeley, August 2017, How to Successfully Work Across Countries, Languages, and Cultures, Harvard Business Review


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