February 15, 2021 Last updated February 15th, 2021 351 Reads share

Ultimate Guide for Foreign Businesses in China in 2021

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The Covid-19 crisis has spread all over the world. Currently, up to 80 million cases worldwide, 18 million only in the U.S. many firms are scrambling to mobilize responses to the heavy shocks that covid has sent to businesses in almost all industries. There aren’t any easy answers because of the unpredictability of disease dynamics, a lack of relevant prior experience, and the absence of actionable plans to tackle the unique problems caused by the pandemic.

Though the situation is challenging, there are ways to come out of this crisis even stronger than before. The tips are for international companies already operating in China or planning to export products or services to China in 2021

1. Focus on the Long-Term and Evaluate Your Efforts and Their Effectiveness Continually

By definition, crises have an extremely energetic trajectory, which requires a constant reframing of psychological models and strategies. Crisis planning and response, recovery and post-recovery strategy, and ultimately, reflection and learning play a crucial part in surviving the covid effects. This process has to be fast — and consequently CEO-led — to prevent getting stuck in complex internal coordination procedures and being slow to respond to volatile circumstances.

Some of the quickest recovered companies in China instantly got ready for such shifts. For example, in the early stages of the outbreak, Master Kong, a top fast noodle and drink manufacturer, evaluated dynamics daily and reprioritized efforts regularly. It expected hoarding and stock-outs, and it tilted its attention away from offline, big retail stations to O2O (online-to-offline), e-commerce, and smaller shops. By continuously tracking retail outlets’ reopening plans, it was likewise able to adapt its supply chain in an extremely flexible way. Because of this, its distribution chain had regained by greater than 50% only a few weeks after the outbreak, and it managed to provide 60 percent of the stores which were reopened in that period — three times as numerous as several opponents.

2. Become More Adaptive To the Circumstances

Quick, coordinated responses require top-level direction. But adapting to erratic shift with distinct dynamics in various communities also needs decentralized decision-making. Some Chinese companies managed to effectively balance the two approaches, giving the employees enough initiative.

By way of instance, Huazhu, which owns 6,000 hotels in 500 cities all over China, set up a crisis task group that met daily to examine procedures and issued top-down guidance for the whole chain. Additionally, it leveraged its internal data platform, an app called Huatong, to ensure employees and franchisees were armed with timely information. This allowed franchisees to accommodate central guidance to their local scenarios concerning disease conditions and local public health actions.

3. Give Clarity and Direction To Your Team

In such a fast-changing world, where seemingly reliable information becomes false, it is crucial to maintain clarity and cooperativeness. Furthermore, confusion is compounded by plenty of media reports filled with discrepancies in viewpoints and advice. Workers will need to adopt new working methods but fail unless they have explicit, consistent knowledge and predetermined direction.

Some Chinese companies created very clear and scrutinized guidance and support for employees. For example, China’s largest kitchenware maker Supor instituted particular operational guidelines and processes for its employees, such as instructions for restricting exposure while residing in canteens and crisis programs for abnormal situations. Additionally, the business instituted health tests for employees and their families in the first stages of the outbreak and procured preventative equipment. It was well ready for a timely resumption of work, reopening some production lines in the next week of February.

4. Become Creative in Effectively Using Your Labor Force

In hard-hit companies, like restaurants, workers were unable to carry on their regular tasks. Instead of furloughs or layoffs, some creative Chinese enterprises actively reallocated employees to new and valuable activities, such as recovery planning, or even loaned them to other businesses.

By way of example, in reaction to a severe decline in earnings, more than 40 restaurants, hotels, and cinema chains optimized their livelihood to free up a large share of the workforces. They then shared those workers with Hema, a “brand new retail” supermarket chain owned and operated by Alibaba, which desperately needed a force to keep up with increased demand on deliveries due to the lockdown.

5. Fighting Against Coronavirus With Technology

Alter your sales channels. Online payments have skyrocketed in China, and companies should take advantage of it! For example, makeup company Lin Qingxuan has been forced to close 40 percent of its stores during the crisis, including Wuhan’s locations. Instead of firing the workforce, the company redeployed its 100+ beauty advisors from these stores to become online influencers who leveraged electronic tools, for example, WeChat, to participate in customers virtually and drive online sales. As a result, Lin’s earnings attained a 200% increase compared to the prior year’s sales.

6. Use Social Media And CRM To Organize the Data and the Employees

With remote working and a new pair of complicated coordination challenges, many Chinese firms took to social media platforms, such as WeChat, to organize employees and partners.

For example, Cosmo Lady, the most significant lingerie and underwear company in China, initiated a program to raise its sales through WeChat, enlisting employees to promote their social circles.

7. Anticipate Different Recovery Speeds for Various Sectors

Unsurprisingly, sectors and product groups recover at various speeds, hence requiring distinct strategies. Stock prices fell across all industries in the first two weeks that China’s outbreak hastened, but leading businesses, such as applications and solutions, and healthcare equipment and services, recovered over a couple of days and have since improved by a mean of 12 percent. The majority of sectors recovered more slowly but reached prior levels within a few weeks.

Although general statistics are grim, Xinergy Global has reported that after a 13.2 percent increase in September 2020, China’s imports increased by 4.7 percent compared to last year to 178.7 Billion in October 2020. For two consecutive months, China has seen a surge in inbound shipments as the local demand continues to recover from the Covid-19 shocks. Companies that are able to adapt to this incredibly complex situation will be rewarded hugely as the market will eliminate the weak ones. So, it is crucial to adapt, be creative and structural and execute your strategy to survive the pandemic.

Map of the China on Earth in the national colors -DepositPhotos

Luka Tskhadadze

Luka Tskhadadze

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