"Kun Han: "Never give a small present to the Chinese"

Fruit traders learn the do' and don'ts of doing business in China

Since July Kun Han has been working as an ambassador for the Dutch fruit and vegetable sector in China. She studied agriculture in China and Wageningen and she does different marketing projects, all of which somehow relate to China. During her presentation to the members of the fruit traders commission she talked about the do' and dont's of doing business with the Chinese. This is a great time now that the Chinese market is open for pears, although exporters here are, of course, already underway for much longer.

Kun Han

In her presentation Kun Han indicated that Chinese exporters are becoming more and more interested in the import side. In China E-commerce is becoming more and more popular, especially with the younger generation. She also said that the Dutch products in China have a good image. The softness of the Conference-peer is perceived as unique, although the Chinese do have a hard time with the bronzed look. When Kun Han visited the Netherlands she advised the Dutch to demonstrate the whole production chain, from the orchards to the harvest, and from packaging to inspections.

She also said that fruit and vegetable stores were becoming more popular in big cities such as Shanghai. The first fair has already been held in China, in the city of Suifenhe (in the state of Heilongjiang, Northeast China), for Russian buyers. She advised the fruit traders to participate in the Chinese fairs and seminars. One example is New Zealand, which was the guest of honour at the Beijing Fruit & Vegetable Exhibition, where they promoted the fruit that was allowed for export. The New Zealand Envy apples were being promoted in a six-pack package (with reference to the new iPhone 6 from Apple) via a popular Chinese TV-show.

A very clear 'do' when is comes to doing business with the Chinese is focusing on the health effects, preferably using comparisons as a tool. Proven research results from Universities and research institutes are doing very well. Kun Han, who was involved in the development of a leaflet for the Conference-peer, also advised participants to play into the family feeling in marketing. A little over-exaggeration in China is completely accepted. The Chinese love attractive pictures, she advised the traders to take advantage of this knowledge. One of the things that belonged in the 'don't' category was literally translating European promotion material to Chinese.

Playing into the family feeling

Something that is not appreciated in China, as it is in the Netherlands, is giving a small present, like a pen with a logo on it. Kun Han said if you do this the Chinese man will feel that you are not taking him seriously. Not surprising, but good to know: discussing politics (Taiwan/Tibet) will definitely not help you in China, and making sensitive jokes about food scandals are out of the question.

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Kun Han

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