Friday, 16th May 2008
With continued double-digit economic growth, China has undergone transformations in virtually every industry. More precisely, many new industries are emerging or reborn with enormous growth potential. The sector of research and information services is no exception. There are ever more western companies and individuals doing business in China and with Chinese, meanwhile Chinese companies are becoming ever more sophisticated in complying international practices throughout processes encompassing strategic, tactical, and operational fronts. The need for market research, competitive intelligence, and other information services is increasing tremendously in recent years, both inside and outside China.
The solutions and emerging service providers are broad in scope not only because such information plays an essential role in almost every industry, but also due to the fact that China is not one market, rather, it is a collection of many markets distinctively influenced by variances of local states of economic development, regional legislative requirements, subcultures and traditions, and high context communication styles, etc.
Despite the fact that there are many western-origin research firms and information publishers providing increasingly richer contents and broader coverage including those in Chinese, home-grown Chinese research and information service firms are emerging across the country. In comparison to the long established western information providers, the advantages of the young domestic players include deeper cultural roots, being quicker to grasp contextual requirements of needs and extremely agile to adapt to changing market developments. One important fact, however often overlooked or under emphasized, is the ratio of information available in Chinese vs. in English. Information products and services based on research conducted by Chinese firms are most often produced in Chinese first in forms such as reports, which may be translated into English or other languages upon request or as sample reports. A very large amount of such information - in Chinese scale - remains in Chinese only. Also the Chinese government organizations, especially at provincial and city levels, provide online access to significant amount of public information which by default is not available in English. Such resources are mostly intractable or very incomplete in the popular databases of the western data vendors. While it might still be quite a challenge for a company in the west to find suitable partners for researching China or obtain such information "off the shelf", the job gets easier if you also consider the resources within China, especially those in Chinese. Topics such as industry research for specific segments, company registration information, cross media advertisements are good examples for applying this approach. More in the next post.
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