“What is guanxi?” you may ask. It is a Chinese concept that refers to those personal networks and relationships through which you have an influence for mutual benefit.
There is no direct translation into English, but guanxi also incorporates the advantages that such relationships can have and as such is very important in helping to develop business relationships, both in the UK and in China.
In China guanxi is enhanced and multiplied through WeChat, a messaging and social media platform that has over 1 billion users, mostly in China, which like Amazon has transformed online shopping for goods and services. There is also a WeChat payment facility, which even people begging in the street are happy to use.
WeChat also offers recommendations on products and services, as well as a chat platform from trusted users — an extension of guanxi — where you only do business with people that you know via WeChat rather than email or face-to-face.
Luckily, Edward Teng of Digipanda Marketing — an enthusiastic One Silk Road member — is an expert in guanxi digital marketing and has some suggestions to help us all keep up with the next global IT revolution, from a micro and small business perspective.
We all know the potential importance of the Chinese market to British businesses, especially with the uncertainty brought about by Brexit.
However, as owners of SMEs, we may find it extremely difficult to reach our desired market in China, due to both a lack of knowledge and understanding about that market, and a lack of marketing budget. To help solve this problem, I would like to introduce the One Silk Road Trusted Advisers Group to help OSR members reach their target audience in China in a cost effective way.
The OSR Trusted Advisers Group is composed of corporate immigration and property solicitors, accountants and tax advisers, property companies, schools and colleges, PR, marketing and branding consultants, relocation companies, FX companies and independent financial advisers who want to market their services in China collectively.
By offering potential investors in China a “one-stop” platform for the acquisition of relevant services from OSR Trusted Advisers, the marketing cost for each member company will be significantly reduced. The marketing initiative comprises both online and offline services.
For the online part, Digipanda is aiming at building up an “Online Fair of UK Immigration, Property and Education” which will never shut down. The online fair will be built using a WeChat mini program. For the offline part, Digipanda is able to organise business trips to China, including the annual Shanghai International Property, Investment and Education Fair, which happens at end of June every year.
Digipanda can also organise presentation sessions in Tier 2 cities, including Qingdao (the main picture) and Tianjin, where UK businesses will be able to meet and engage with potential Chinese clients. The timing of the Shanghai Fair coincides with the release of the results of Senior Middle School exams (equivalent to UK’s A-levels) and parents will have to make decisions about the next stage of their children’s education, which will hopefully lead to reciprocal investment in the UK, if the parents decide to send their children to British schools and colleges.
If you are interested in receiving more detailed proposals about Digipanda’s Chinese marketing initiative, please contact me directly on: 07741 717751 or by email: Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those OSR members who are able to attend we are holding an informal workshop on 25 April 2018.
Details of the event are on the One Silk Road Meetup site, but places are limited so if you would like to join us please follow this LINK.