How to present myself as a Chinese company in an appealing way on the European market?
Germany's medical economy is continuously growing. The medical technology sector alone generated sales of 30 billion euros in 2017, with an export quota of 64%, making it the third largest in the world. The DxPx Conference 2019 will be the world's first networking event for Dx stakeholders during the launch of MEDICA. In Düsseldorf, one of the largest metropolises in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), we expect investors, entrepreneurs and representatives from industry. The region is well known to the local people among them. The federal state of Germany, which is historically the most strongly represented in terms of population and economic yield, is an industrial hot spot and still produces a variety of innovations in the area of Research & Development (R&D) in large corporations, but above all small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (93% Germany-wide according to the industry association BVMed), as well as universities. With its wealth of investments, on the one hand due to the high supply of capital by private investors and business angels, on the other hand due to its openness to equity capital, it is still one of the major market players within Germany and beyond its borders. Against the background of high trend awareness, the life science sector receives special attention from foreign investors. Biotechnology in particular is very popular in NRW. Throughout Europe, the region represents an additional major pharmaceutical location, a pulsating market for life science products and can be described as a leader in this sector with regard to the German start-up scene, alongside the flourishing founding stronghold of Berlin.
China is also booming in the same area. In the medical technology industry alone, the global market share was 6% in 2017, but its growth curve is estimated at 26% until 2026, which is second place in the world rankings (1st place USA). This would mean a market volume of around 170 billion euros. If one considers the current expenditures within the entire health care system up to 2020, investments should amount to more than one trillion euros. Many of these capital expenditures have also flowed to Germany, where there are current investments in the market segments of clinics, health products/medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Germany is therefore a lucrative market – also for Chinese companies.
But how do they have to appear in order to receive German funding or to successfully establish contact with end customers?
Against the background of global digitization, the web presence of companies today conveys the mutual first impression that one experienced in personal conversations before this era. Emotion has moved into the virtual world and today is understood by the term User Experience (UX), which accompanies and shapes companies from the search for investors to end customer contact. The latter not least due to the constant adaptation of the web presence to the existing demand, which differs fundamentally from both target groups in both countries. Here, the current, culturally influenced role model also experiences a degree hike, because China and Germany differ significantly in this respect, which also has a significant influence on web design. The pure translation of the content is therefore not enough; the structure and visualization of the content must also be greatly revised in order to match the corresponding perception and information processing of consumers and to trigger their behavior, whether they are investors or product end customers.
For the Chinese company on the German market this still means: massive reduction of content, clear structure and efficient image design for easy, intuitive and fast access to the essentials, also because the trend since 2018 is slowly moving towards a minimalistic one, because only an appropriate transformation of the web presence and your own message leads to successful results in SEO and who wants to present themselves, must first be found. Furthermore, when entering the German market, a responsive design must often be supplemented by a web design, since 95% of Chinese users access the Internet exclusively via a mobile device, i.e. tablet or smartphone.
Color psychology is also an important UX aspect. In Germany, for example, white is considered a clean background color that stands for simplicity and elegance. A meaning that a stranger must know about when white is associated with death in one's own colorful culture. The intensity of the use of various colors can also lead to negative effects, depending on the country-specific use. These are just a few of many examples of classic stereotypes. With regard to the latter, however, it should be pointed out that not only the respective target group design alone promises success, about which one at best communicates in advance with corresponding cultural representatives, no, also the fusion of both design stereotypes could find positive approval, since it corresponds to the image of the collaborative relationship of both country actors.
Between these and their virtual image there is another one at the beginning: the classic business card – usually in the customary style of the country. These are also impressions and give you access to your own web presence. They are what support or shake personal feelings about each other at networking events. This is where the further common path can be divorced. It is less the design than the social practice with it that distinguishes China from Germany. Thus, in the Far East, they are always presented facing each other, usually with the Chinese side facing upwards, if present in dual form, and with both hands at the ends facing the presenter, while the other receives them with both hands at the open ends after having studied them briefly. The latter pays respect to the new possible business partner, as does their open placement next to themselves on the table in meetings or their closed placement in an extra card folder in the breast pocket of the jacket, never in the back pocket. In Germany, people here are relaxed in their dealings without rituals.
These and many other cultural aspects are only the beginning of interactional differences, which have to be experienced and understood in collaboration in order to establish a sustainable international business relationship between actors of European and Asian origin. Between the mutual consideration and appreciation of foreign traditions stands the common approach, which helps to shape a new global culture and behavioral practice.