China’s economy grew 7.4% during 2014 and is still expected to grow at least 5% in 2015. This puts China on the top of fastest-growing economies in the world even though the growth isn’t as explosive as it was in past decades.
China’s economy still outpaces that of most other countries, meaning there are still a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs of all kinds.
Multinationals keep trying to settle themselves in strategic places across China, right beside their Chinese competitors, to get a piece of the action in this emerging market.
China’s plans for growth
For example, it’s expected that in the next two decades, China will see more than 20,000 new skyscrapers. To put this into perspective with the Western world, there are 235 skyscrapers right now in New York City.
A big difference between China and many of the well-developed countries in the world is the lack of rules and limitations in the Chinese building industry. Because China’s main goal is to achieve city expansion and to have a skyline that can compete with the world’s biggest cities, it’s undesirable to have rules that will slow growth.
China wants to move 100 million people from rural areas to cities by 2020. This huge increase in population in Chinese cities demands improvements in infrastructure but also asks for the construction of new housing, factories, and shopping malls.
This will create boundless business and investment opportunities in several fields.
China investment opportunities reach for the sky
Because the Chinese government wants to stimulate growth, the sky is the limit for anything that can contribute to economic growth. A good example of this is Guangzhou’s Canton Tower, which was completed in 2010. It’s one of the tallest buildings in the world and has an innovative design with a twist in the middle; the bottom and the top are wider than the middle part.
It was designed by an architecture company from Holland and cost a total of $450 million to build. A building like this would be impossible to build anywhere in Europe due to rules about building height, construction safety and investment costs that are way too high.
Architecture firms can make a good name for themselves with these groundbreaking designs that are talked about by people all across the globe.
Another innovative design is that of the Shanghai Tower, which will be completed this year. It’s going to be even taller than the Canton Tower and has a similar twisting design. This tower was designed by an American company.
It’s interesting that most of the ordinary-looking buildings in the big cities in China are designed by Chinese architects, but almost all significant and eye-catching buildings are designed by Western companies.
If you walk around the city’s business districts in Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou, you will be surrounded by buildings that are mostly designed by either Europeans or Americans.
If you see a building in these areas that looks unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, it’s a safe bet that it wasn’t designed by a Chinese guy (or gal).
Chinese cultural differences
China has always had a culture of being closed off from the rest of the world and this continues to be the case, although the trend seems to be changing.
Foreign workers will only be needed in China when a particular job can’t be done by a Chinese person. This creates chances for companies that are active in the field of creativity and design.
Chinese people are known to be less creative than people from the Western world. Because people in China are still growing up with less freedom and are taught to be followers to a greater extent than people in Western countries, their creative skills are often less developed.
This makes them less suitable to work in the creative fields, for example as architects. This opens possibilities for companies that are active in this field, looking to expand abroad.
Getting a foot in the door in China’s market
Any company that wants to set foot in China has to do some preparations.
The Chinese culture can’t be compared to that of any other country. It shares some traditions with neighboring countries like Mongolia or Tibet but is very different from Western culture.
It takes a good understanding to be able to communicate effectively with Chinese business partners, not to mention the language barrier.
Before a company enters the Chinese market, is owners must have done their homework on Chinese values. If they are serious they should hire a local person to help them with their communications.
Foreign companies that have expertise in a very specific niche can be preferred over Chinese firms that are less familiar on a particular subject.
Another very important condition for success is to stay in touch with China’s economic and political situation.
If you can predict the impact of certain political changes, for example, you will be able to fill a future hole in the market that other companies have yet to find out about.
The future of China’s economy
It’s clear that the growth of China’s economy is not going to die down in the coming years. There are still many investment opportunities in China for companies from all around the world, but they have to be willing to put in some extra work.
If you would spend time informing yourself about everything you need to know about Chinese culture and you already gained a good knowledge of a certain niche field in the market, it’s possible to still have great success in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.