How Companies Can Do Chinese Competitive Market Research with Xiaoning

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Case Studies, Podcast2 Comments

Ever been curious how to do proper research before jumping into the Chinese market? Want to learn how a market research associate gets her analysis done. Let’s dive in to Global From Asia episode 180!

About Xiaoning: She helps guide small and medium sized B2B and B2C businesses to better understand the market and successfully enter and expand into the China market.

The one…. from UK… that’s me

Have a good weekend!
You are famous in my house btw…. My two daughters were forced to listen to your podcasts!

United Kingdom 2017-04-01 5 max-martin
Thinking of starting up in HK? then Listen to this A huge amount of in depth information on a wide range of topics – all from people who have set up businesses in HK. High quality interviewees and honest advice that all rings true. Listen to this to whisk yourself along the learning curve.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Introduce Xiaoning

    Where are you from?

  • Beginnings

    How you got started in your career of market research

  • Best Ways for Competitive Research

    What are some of the best ways for foreign companies to do competitive research

  • Market Changes

    How to keep on top of the market changes

  • Chinese Company Name

    Picking a Chinese company name – what is the best way?

  • Chinese Translations

    Some “chinese translations” gone wrong

  • Services

    Talk about Your services – and then – Mike can talk about how to get your services on the GFA marketplace

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Global From Asia Events
Xiaoning’s market listing on GFA market to help you find a Chinese name for your company (good price!)
Xiaoning’s profile on GFA market
Best Buy
Coca cola

Episode Length 23:11

Thank you Xiaoning for today’s podcast. If you guys are interested in using her services, she has a few for you to choose from – from small tasks like helping pick a Chinese company name (or even personal name) to deep competitive analysis in the Chinese market. We have these as packages on our GFA market – check them out today in the links above!

Download Options

Podcast Transcription

“Interpretation of each Chinese name is different. When a company wants to have its foreign brand translate it to Chinese character, they really need to think about what those Chinese character means.”

Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.

Mike: Alright, everybody. Global From Asia Episode 180. Miles is here hanging out and it’s been very rainy week. I feel like I’m mostly talking about the weather here but it’s been changing quite a bit. So, we also have another review. Thank you everybody for your amazing reviews. This one actually has been talking on an email. He’s really loving our show. Max Martin gives us 5 stars on April 1st, April. I’m just kind of fond of this. He says: “Thank you for starting off in Hong Kong, I listen to this. A huge more in depth information on a wide range of topics all from people who have set up businesses in HK. High quality interviewees and honest advice to all listeners, too. Listen this whisk yourself along the learning curve.” Thank you so much for that Max and he also says that, I am famous at his house, his 2 daughters are also forced to listen to this podcast. Well, maybe Miles can be more active on the show and talk to your daughters, sitting here right now. And we have been got amazing events coming up in the Asia region. We’re going to Vietnam for the end of the month, we’re planning Hong Kong meetups during Rise Mastermind in South China and Shanghai in September. If you want to see these events and more we’re also talking about Miami Florida we’re talking to some people in Melbourne Australia. We’re trying to kind of let this more community meetups for listeners, friends, and members. You can do that at Alright and now this week’s show, this is Xiaoning. It’s her name. She’s from China Shanghai and I got to know her in Prague when I was in Czech Republic last summer and she is working with us on our Global From Asia marketplace. She does competitive market research inside China market for international companies around the world and she has quite a bit of experienced. And today, she’ll give us insights and tips on you know how you can do some more in depths research, but also even choosing a company name in Chinese, some strategies for translation and more. You can listen in now. Enjoy.

Mike: So, thank you everybody for tuning in. So Global From Asia marketplace interview. We have Xiaoning. How are you, Xiaoning?

Xiaoning: I’m good. Hi.

Mike: Great. Great. Hi. So, you are over in the Europe now. Do you want to introduce yourself to everyone?

Xiaoning: Oh sure. Yeah. Right now, I’m in Prague. I grew up in Jiangsu province in China. I studied in for 6 years and then afterwards, I worked in Shanghai for 8 years. We just moved to Prague for like about 6 months.

Xiaoning: Oh sure. Yeah. Right now, I’m in Prague. I grew up in Jiangsu province in China. I studied in for 6 years and then afterwards, I worked in Shanghai for 8 years. We just moved to Prague for like about 6 months.

Mike: Very cool. Very cool and so that’s great! Yeah, we met in Prague, which is awesome and they took us to great city, it’s so beautiful. I mean you can walk. There’s so many bridges and so much to do. Yeah, the place is like castle. I feel like it’s, you know.

Xiaoning: It’s very beautiful.

Mike: Yeah, it’s definitely beautiful. So, you are on the marketplace usually have many services for market research and checking different competitive landscape. Is that what you have done in your career? Can you explain how you kind got involved in that type of work?

Xiaoning: Sure! Actually, that was after 2 years of working as equity analyst and I tried eventually in Shanghai and you know, working as the equity analyst, there was a lot of like repetitive resource and the financial model of the public companies in the Asia market. You know, and also a lot of related industries like tourism, consumer durables, information, communication, and technologies, the ICT industries. At that moment, I just felt that with my research experience, I could do something different but more interesting. Which is to do market research and helping companies with the decision making and strategy development for the China market. So, that’s how. So, basically yeah, after that, for the past 6 years I was joining market research and consulting.

Mike: Great. Great. So that’s great! We can talk about a little bit more. Yeah, you’re definitely expert at this, it’s challenging, right? A lot of foreign companies don’t even know where to start. Of course they should use your service which is great. Or maybe you could just give us some pointers or some ideas what they should been doing to start getting an idea, their competitors or the market landscape, just some tipster, insights.

Xiaoning: Yeah, that’s very important to start. Before I want to talk about the ways, I want to point out that competitive research and then ongoing process for foreign companies of different stages and their needs and goals for the research can be highly different and it is important to understand their needs and goals and determine what approaches to actually, you know, get this kind of information competitive market information. So, no matter you’re a new market entrance or you’re in the market for long time and you’re looking to grow and expand in the market, whether you really want to understand, probably like who are your competitors. A walk for your competitors, what’s their 5 points, what’s their sales channel, key customers, strengths, and weaknesses and how they perform in their market, for example. Here are, I wouldn’t say best ways but some reasonable ways of doing such kind of competitive research. First, for basic information using internet or the B2B B2C ecommerce marketplaces such as Alibaba, TMart, for example. Second, it’s your competitor’s products or stores or supermarkets, store visit can get you more product information packages, distributors, in addition to price point. And third, for more in depths information, you can identify a list of experienced distributors who know the market well and also potential and clients, a list of potential and clients who used similar products. Then you schedule phone call, phone interviews with them or face to face interview with them. Then you through that you can actually get pretty indepths information. If these distributors and clients are willing to talk with you but of course, you would experience that they, some of them might not want to talk with you, but you know, never scam. You got to try. And then, sometimes for some products like beauty products or luxury goods, online surveys or face to face surveys are also useful to clogged information, what they really want, is your product good or not? Or why do they like competitors for that, you know. So of course, some consulting firm and the market specialist like myself, we offer a comprehensive market research and you know consulting service, which covers all the approaches above. So many foreign companies also prefer to work with us. Basically those are the the ways I would recommend.

Mike: It’s great! I know when you, is it use for only market entry, or should they keep checking on top of the market, of course. Should they always have someone like you or special consultant checking the market to get reports, or yearly, or is there any kind of ideas that someone should do?

Xiaoning: What, you actually mentioned a few point. There are some companies that actually they get a new report. This is one way of like, keep on top of the market changes. But the, some easier ways for example I was recommend to follow some quality blogs about market changes in China. And one that I would recommend is China Law Blog. I don’t know if you’ve heard this before.

Mike: Yeah.

Xiaoning: That written by American Market Specialist. You know, know this China market very well. His blogs are like regular updates about the new in active law regulation and very in depth analysis. So it’s kind of blog one way, another important that I want to, I’m precise, the kind really need you be on the ground or have somebody in the market. So, when you’re in the market, you sense the changes, for example especially for our staff involving market like China, everyday you see changes. And one thing, one amazing thing that I noticed, the younger generation in big cities like Shanghai, they stop using credit cards or cash like they use the phone or the app Alipay app on their phone to pay for daily expenses which is very impressive. This was not like this, even in Europe.

Mike: It’s true. It happens. The market is so fast here. Just to summarize you say like of course having somebody in the market, underground best room insights of the company but of course, you can have people also helping you keep informed then this reports as well. Let’s go to some more fun stuff. I think that some good review maybe the Chinese names, so picking a copy can also help people with that small service that you offer for people. Sometimes people make fun of my Chinese company name or in my Chinese English, Chinese personal name. But sometimes people could make it just to little translation, or they could make it like a meaning, a Chinese meaning name, right? Is there any, I guess it depends, I mean, do you have any suggestion or ideas?

Xiaoning: I think that you just said, actually most companies use, I would call fanatic translation or translate. Translate the English name or Western name into Chinese language. So that it sounds similar and this is the good way, first of all, because you sound like the same company. So, basically maintain your foreign brand in China. However, the more important thing is you need to pick some Chinese character that mean, I think a lot of foreign companies actually are doing pretty good with translate, foreign brand into China. However, there are also like not so good example. What I can think of it like for example the company, the marketing company, Best Buy, they used to be in the market. They had a lot of stores in China. Their Chinese name is by which means, think a hundred times before you buy. Which is they sell all these kind of electronic products in their store but their names can tell the consumer to think hundred times because when you think about it, doesn’t very good.

Mike: Yeah, that’s not good.

Xiaoning: So, that’s and unfortunately they also shut down all of their store in 2011 which is the you know, bad. Example for market. I’m not saying, this is. And you’re also, right , that the interpretation of each Chinese name is different. Different people, that the interpretation is different. So it depends, however, when a company wants to have its foreign brand translate into Chinese character that really need to think about what the whole Chinese character means. And they need to talk to their Chinese staff, Chinese friends, and some market specialist.

Mike: Great.

Xiaoning: Because, yeah the more feedback you’ve got, the more you can like confirm and reassure whether the name is fine or not. Also, to translate the foreign brand to Chinese is one way and then of course you have other ways, for example, come up with the very unique term that describe the advantages of your product or your services. But again, the Chinese character will matter.

Mike: Exactly.

Xiaoning: They need to have like positive meanings or at least a neutral meanings.

Mike: True. I think, maybe you could give me. Coca Cola did a good job, like.

Xiaoning: Yeah.

Mike: Like happiness.

Xiaoning: Very good example. ‘Coz Coca Cola their Chinese name is co ca co la which means, delicious and happy which is very good. And also sounds a very similar to its original brand which is very very nice. And another example is the Microsoft. I wouldn’t say it sounds very positive but actually sounds neutral and it make sense. Microsoft is Chinese name is we run. So it’s like, like little translation of its foreign brand so because, micro means we, soft means run. It makes sense. It’s not like Coca Cola which is sounds a very you know, it’s extremely awesome but halfway makes sense. And there’s another company, I think its called Pantene and its Chinese name is Panting which is really really good. Many people say that the Chinese name is even better than its original foreign brand. So, you know you can have this kind of very good good name.

Mike: Very cool. This is great. My next point is similar to Chinese name. I guess just Chinese translation in general you have to be a little bit careful, right? When you localize? This is not just translation and it’s also the way you know, sometimes my Chinese friends you cannot just translate kind of almost like re-write it the way because the flow or the style is different.

Xiaoning: Yeah. that’s true. Yeah, I mean there’s so many example, I can just give more examples. For example, the (foreign language), it’s in the market, and the, I think their Chinese name is fine. Which is being, if theres company not being careful, if they translate it directly.

Mike: Yes.

Xiaoning: It will be, you know sickness. So it is, that would be really bad. So, I think there’s company you know, the management that actually think a lot about it. So they change it to B E the Chinese character means pretty good, it means must respond, or you know it actually it’s reasonable for the services that they provide, you know. It’s not a conflicting or does make any sense. So it’s good. However, their domain name in China is still Ping, that’s the end, if I remember correctly. So which is a little bit strange, if you think about it, right? So, yeah there is a lot of things to think about not just only the name the English name, the Chinese name, the domain, even a lot of people use a lot of companies even. Use WeChat marketing, they need to register an official account and what name you’re gonna use, which ID you cannot use. So those are all thing that you need to think about.

Mike: Definitely. Alright! Thank you so much for your time Xiaoning and we have you, you’re on our Global From Asia marketplace, we’ll link it upon on the notes of this video. It’s great to have you as part of this. What kind of services do you like to provide, maybe you give people some examples and ways they could work with you?

Xiaoning: Sure. I’m specialized in market research and consulting services and help foreign companies look to grow and grow in the market to better understand market dynamics. I’ve worked on project basis, so the project’s job is customer tailor, it really depends on what the clients really needs. And they usually includes market intelligence, competitive landscape, supply chain, analysis review, regulation review, market entry options, partners for example distributor search, these kind of things. And I’ve managed and execute it about for the projects industries of food and beverage ecommerce, luxury goods, medical device, and pharmaceuticals, etc. And the clients that I have worked with they came from US, New Zealand, France, Italy, Finland, etc. And usually for the project that I deliver, the final deliverables can be power point reports or word report, excel, etc. Usually a comprehensive market research projecting about 6 to 8 weeks. Some ad hoc research take about 1 to 2 weeks. I also take hourly tasks or mini tasks which may take a few hours. So if you have a questions about China market refer to, I’m willing to help you.

Mike: Great! Thank you so much Xiaoning and great to have you.

Xiaoning: Thank you. Thank you.

Mike: Thank you so much, Xiaoning. We will link to her listings and the Global From Asia marketplace. She’s excited we can help her, spread her services more and get more small businesses international companies, talk to her and find her. I’d love to have any feedback you guys have on this show and future shows we have plenty more coming up about electronics engineering, it’s a 2 part series that is coming up. We have some about Amazon Germany. I’ll be in Vietnam, some Vietnam styles shows and more. So I hope you guys are enjoying. I’ve been really happy to see more iTunes feedback and email and people actually like our newsletter. I know sometimes you will think people email spam but we have people signing up for just our weekly newsletter Thursdays at 9pm. If you’re interested to get some news about what’s happening in Asia business as well, some fun stuff and other things of course our latest blog post, you can go to Okay it’s time for me to go out. Family day with the kids. Miles, are you ready to go outside?

Miles : Go outside.

Mike : Okay. He’s been really a good boy. We’re going outside.

To get more info, on running international business, please visit our website at that’s Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

Related Posts

Tags: asia, business, career, china, corporate, e-commerce, ecommerce, entrepreneur, guide, hong kong, market research, tips

2 Comments on “How Companies Can Do Chinese Competitive Market Research with Xiaoning”

  1. Pingback: Newsletter: Maybe We Call This the Asia Business Jokes Newsletter?

  2. Pingback: You Want To Sell To China? How Far Are You Willing To Go?

Leave a Reply