The movement of capital, people and resources from “inside this circle to outside it” is one of the most confronting and/or exciting opportunities, challenges and risks of the 21st century and will have an impact on every aspect of our lives.
In the long term, this movement creates unprecedented challenges for politicians, economists, historians and sociologists who will all have to grapple with the impact of a new aspirant middle class disrupting the old world order and exporting their cultures, wealth and ambition to other countries. We’re already seeing some early signs of what lies ahead.
In the short term, smart businesses and entrepreneurs with a will to adapt and prosper will find countless opportunities to benefit from this wave of cashed-up consumers, aspirational families, hard-working millennials and savvy investors if they take the plunge and open their minds.
In America, this wave has already started. If you need any convincing of the short-term opportunity to build a business case to promote your capabilities, services or products to just one sub-segment of this massive group (ie the Chinese who already have an interest in America) you can get motivated by plugging the following numbers into your spreadsheet:
Locals (ie local Americans who identify as “chinese”) 5,081,682 ie 1.5% of the total U.S population as of 2017, mostly living in California and New York (source: 2016 US Census, Wikipedia)
Migrants (ie chinese people moving to America each year to take up residence) The number of immigrants from mainland China to the United States nearly doubled from 299,000 in 1980 to 536,000 in 1990, and again to 989,000 in 2000, reaching 2.1 million in 2016. (source: Migrationpolicy.org)
Students (ie chinese students who study in American universities) Of the more than 1 million foreign students who enrolled at US universities in 2016-2017, 350,755 (about 35%) were Chinese, up 6.8% from the previous year. Also, a survey of 6,217 Chinese students who plan to study abroad – or their parents – found that the US remained their top choice, preferred by 50% of respondents (source: Institute of International Education)
Tourists (ie chinese tourists who travel to America each year for sight-seeing, leisure, shopping etc.) Overall, nearly 3 million Chinese tourists visit the U.S. annually and spending has topped $30 billion in recent years, (source: National Travel and Tourism Office) which I believe is just the beginning. China’s largest online travel service, Ctrip, predicts that this number will double by 2020.
All it requires is a bit of creative thinking about how you can delight and attract one or more of these groups by rolling out the metaphorical ‘welcome’ sign in their own language and adapting your offer to their unique circumstances and preferences.
Here are a few examples of some businesses who have already done this:
- In June 2017, Brand USA partnered with Youku (China’s equivalent of YouTube) for the digital launch of “America Wild: National Parks Adventure” – making China the first global market to be granted access to the film outside of theatres. Just four months after its online debut, the film reached its first one million views online. Also, in 2017, Brand USA launched a new interactive consumer campaign, “All Within Your Reach,” designed to inspire visitors to “plan a USA trip now.” Through the campaign, Brand USA illustrates the diversity of the U.S. and invites travelers to share their own unique experiences. The website gousa.cn was established as part of the campaign to attract more Chinese tourists.
- Otte is a fashion boutique business for women’s clothing based in New York which found that 50% of its online customers were Chinese people, either living in the United States or in Mainland China. As a result, the brand has invested in a Wechat marketing campaign, with interesting chinese content and an attractive new Wechat site.
What can you do to make it easier for the Chinese to choose you, rather than your competitor?
Please post your answers on the comments section below or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you.