I honestly couldn’t see the point.

I was talking with Wai Ying, a friend of mine. She was born and raised in mainland China, worked in Hong Kong, and finally immigrated to Australia. She has worked all her life in middle-management businesses, in both China and Australia. Wai Ying literally grew up with the internet. She was part of the explosion of communication, services and ideas introduced to China through Google. And she saw the reaction and consequences of the ‘Great Correction’ as Google was finally kicked out of China.

Growth of online shopping in China exceeds revenue of U.S.

Growth of online shopping in China exceeds revenue of U.S.

I was asking her about the consequences of Lined Media being the first Australian social media company to break into the Chinese market. Lined Media have entered into a partnership with a Chinese social media business sharing clients on both sides of the Great Firewall of China.

“It’s a game-changer,” she smiled prettily, her almond eyes focusing as she thought of the opportunities opened by Lined Media.

Everyone is aware of the massive Chinese retail audience: 520 million online shoppers as against 200 million in the U.S. And everyone is aware of the extraordinary lengths the Chinese government have gone to in excluding foreign businesses from the Chinese marketplace. Lined Media have now secured a partnership allowing businesses access to this market. But will it be worth it?

“As far as I can see,” I asked Wai Ying, “the Chinese economy has grown because of its access to cheap labour. Chinese products are notorious for being able to undercut everyone else. Will Australian businesses enter the Chinese market only to find they can’t compete?”

Wai Ying didn’t hesitate, “No. You said it yourself – ‘the Chinese economy has grown …’ And the hallmark of a growing economy is not just the demand for more goods, but the demand for higher quality goods.”

And that, I suppose is where Australian businesses come in. The Chinese business model has traditionally been a Race-to-Zero; with each business trying to undercut the others. Because of this the quality of their goods and services has suffered. Those businesses who managed to make efficiencies with the fewest cuts to quality have made their owners stratospherically wealthy. And people like that don’t want to buy the crap other Race-to-Zero businesses are producing.

Lined Media able to place Australian businesses before Chinese market.

Lined Media able to place Australian businesses before Chinese market.

“With half a billion online shoppers, “Wai Ying continued, “the Chinese economy is a game changer for any Australian business with an online presence.” She smiled again. “Lined Media have pulled off the coup of this business generation.”

“But there’s still going to be problems with licensing, marketing and distribution,” I countered.

“Aren’t there always? That’s the cost of doing business anywhere.” Wai Ying brought Baidu up on her laptop (Baidu is the Chinese equivalent of Google). “Until now any query typed into Baidu would only return Chinese business results. Google (and the search results Google provided) was unreachable for all but a few individuals with proxy server accounts (highly illegal in China). But with the Lined Media partnership agreement all that has changed. Google might still be out of reach for most Chinese web browsers, but the Lined Media clients, and their products, are not.”

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