Competition, regulations and cultural differences make a market entry in China a major challenge for SMEs. The booming winter sports industry, however, gives a good example of why it’s still worthwhile.
As an export promoter working on behalf of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, Switzerland Global Enterprise and its 22 Swiss Business Hubs are active throughout the world identifying the most attractive business opportunities for Swiss exporters and helping them to take advantage of those opportunities. Consider the following example.
Due to growing affluence, skiing is on the rise in China and is becoming increasingly popular as a family activity. The Olympic Games have set in motion a major construction and development boom in this sector. Predictions state that by 2022 there will be more than 1,000 ski resorts and 40 million winter sports tourists in China. Meanwhile, leading Chinese real estate developers are turning their attention toward building new ski resorts.
Swiss businesses in this segment will have the opportunity to use their extensive experience in the area of mountain climbing and winter sports technologies to profit from the Chinese skiing industry’s growth potential in connection with the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Switzerland is known as one of the best ski destinations in the world and is famous for its expertise in the area of winter sports infrastructure. In terms of infrastructure, most of the ski resorts in China are still sparsely equipped. Swiss businesses such as manufacturers of cableway systems or personal ski equipment could see major benefits from the wave of Chinese investment.
Though the temperatures for ski resorts are below freezing, the biggest practical problem is actually the relatively low level of precipitation. It is certainly worthwhile for Swiss manufacturers of snow machines and groomers to sound out potential business opportunities on the Chinese market.
The first step in recognising such opportunities was provided by the fact-finding mission for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Swiss Business Hub China carried out from the 13th to the 16th of February 2017. Fifteen Swiss businesses and associations from the winter sports and event organisation sector took part in the mission, most of them providers of products and services in the areas of construction, infrastructure, green building technology, resort planning, supply chain management, winter sports equipment and other consumer goods/services.
The fact-finding mission gave the participants a unique chance to present their products and expertise in person to the decision makers and government authorities who are responsible for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. The program included a B2G meeting with the Beijing Organization Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOWG), as well as a B2G meeting with the Leading Group Office for the Hebei Province for the 24th Olympic Winter Games in Chongli and a meeting with private developers of resorts such as the Genting Secret Garden and the Thaiwoo Ski Resort in Chongli.
This example shows that as the second largest economy in the world, there is hardly any other market segment that offers Swiss companies such major sales potential. The task now is to identify the best opportunities and make in-depth preparations for a market entry. One important factor for success is travelling to China and having personal meetings with potential partners, customers and government representatives. Switzerland Global Enterprise creates individualised market studies, organises tailored business trips and provides support in finding a distribution partner.