Research China: 10 Insights into doing research in China
Research China: 10 insights into Chinese research
Asia 5 Bringing you a flavour of business trends in Asia...in just 5 minutes A Futures Coaching initiative www.futurescoaching.com
dyanmicLike lots of things in China, the research agency scene isa rapidly mutating placePeople change jobs remarkably quickly leaving clientsasking whether they follow the researcher or the agency Strong movement for individuals with a few years experience to split off & found own agency
basicsBasic data like consumer spending data is often missingGovernment data (eg. census) can be inaccurate or quitesimply manipulated
filling the gapsMany research companies (eg. AC Nielsen) are in thebusiness of filling the gaps left by lack of officialresearchThis means that more insightful research is on the backburner eg. a China-wide social segmentation system
versusOften the key research inquiry of multinationals todayconcerns comparisonsHow are the Hongkongese different from the Chinese?How are tier 2 cities different from tier 3Is my brand in Malaysia going to work in China?
who is winning?Asian researchers could learn a lot from Westernresearch methodologies eg. experienced semiologistsare lacking in ChinaOn the other hand Chinese researchers are racing aheadusing the internet as both a research tool and consumeraccess point
clientsMultinational companies make up as much as 95% ofresearch agency income“You dont have to explain focus groups to Westernbrands, nor counter arguments about lack ofrepresentivity”
holding backWestern clients report major issues working with theirown research colleagues in ChinaThe fact is that in-house research teams in China can bevery secretive with information & play political gamesRetention may be due to insecurity – or the desire forpower
local hero Local companies are very small users of consumer research They are highly price conscious They do not perceive the added value of original research over what they can find on the internet The image of consumer research as a pencil and paper survey is hard to shift
big gunsWhen a Chinese company finally decides to invest ininsight, its often part of a bigger strategic exerciseeg. international logistics rationalisationAs reputation and status count for so much, in thesecases, the local firm will turn to a Western company likeMcKinseySo, the research tends to be undertaken by these bigconsultants too
full circleComplaints have been heard when the McKinsey team ismade of local, junior consultants without the depth ofexperience of its overseas officesThe irony is to appoint a Western company and get a localteam
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