Reaching the domestic Asian market is an untapped goldmine but taking advantage required a different mindset, according to leading China retail expert David Thomas.
“The size of the inbound opportunity is so much bigger than a few tourists, even Chinese students are an ecosystem in their own right,” Mr Thomas told What’s New in Healthy Products.
“While tourism was expected to grow to 3 million Chinese by 2026, there are over 1.3 million Australians who already identify as Chinese, 28,000 new Chinese migrants per year, 165,000 students, and investors, who in 2018 invested US$8.2 billion into Australia, not to mention the millions they spend in our retail sector on their regular visits.
“These numbers are growing rapidly allowing retailers to engage Asian buyers without leaving home. They just need to do things differently.”
He said an understanding of the channels to market and cultural sensitivity was paramount.
“Building relationships not transactions, understanding and respecting hierarchy, as well as the simple things like putting up a welcome sign in Chinese are all important,” Mr Thomas said.
“People generally try to do too many things at once. Targeting one to two key relationships, engaging with customers and then building from there is how to get traction, particularly for SMEs.
“Australian retailers need to build a brand that stands for quality, trust and reliability to penetrate the Asian marketplace. This all takes time and costs money. The reason Blackmore’s are so successful in Asia (particularly in China) is because they’re a well-known, established and trusted brand in Australia, and have been for many years.”
Mr Thomas is speaking at Naturally Good on Monday 3 June. Register here.