The Changing Requirements of Chinese Market Research Clients

Since first initiating an on-the-ground presence within China in 1996, we at B2B International have witnessed a very clear transition in terms of the requirements of clients for research into the Chinese market. Furthermore, we believe that these changes have not ceased and are continuing to evolve at a pace with the strengthening and reform of the Chinese economy. If we believe that the market then held relatively homogeneous requirements, right now things are a little different. So what has changed?

A more specific method
We have perceived that clients’ requirements have gradually become more focussed and specific over time. As for instance, several years ago, most clients would have simply opted for “a market assessment study”, to usually ascertain how large the market is, how many competitors there are, what are the key regulations, who are the major players, and what are their technological advantages. However, clients’ needs have become much more distinctive. For example, they may propose a “segmentation study” with perhaps their own marketing segmentation strategies, in which case they would merely require a research agency to conduct surveys to deduce whether their marketing strategy is feasible.

A more cautious approach
At a recent congress meeting, I was approached by several Market Intelligence Managers from leading multinational companies to discuss opportunities to conduct research for them. During these encounters, I was instinctively very aware of their fluency in market research methodology, which was further fortified by their desire to conduct projects in a step-by-step manner – that is to say, they didn’t simply want to spend a major chunk of their research budget all in one go. This apprehensive approach makes sense, as China is a difficult and unique market to comprehend, which is exactly amoxil online order what a large number of global companies established here are currently jostling with. For example, in most cases of when we conduct a research study, we come up with our proposed market size and opportunity. However, we may have disregarded potential non-trading barriers or national protection on certain types of products or industries. Thus, if a company decides to conduct a small-scale project to find out some obvious trading and non-trading barriers prior to commissioning a comprehensive analysis on key aspects of the market, then that probably makes financial sense. After all, any market with little opportunity is not worth getting into. On first glance, this move looks to be bad news for research agencies in China, as the project sizes will be reduced. However, one could say that such scaling down represents bigger opportunities in the long run, as they necessitate building a stronger relationship between the project suppliers and research vendors, and thus the added benefits of future exclusivity.

Increasingly data-driven
In the current market, clients are increasingly inclined to talk about “big data” or large sample size to make research more statistically justifiable. They do believe that as comprehensive a coverage as possible will assist the company in avoiding the risk of missing certain key points of the research. A lot of clients request the confidence interval, and standard deviation and errors for data, illustrating the drive for, and increased reliance on, statistics.

To summarise, within the current market research industry in China, market research agencies need to keep up with the evolving trends and changes in research requirements, always striving to provide customised services for individual clients and thus fuelling the further business growth of their clients.