Category: Commercial development

Commercial success in China: Know Your Consumers

Commercial success in China: Know Your Consumers

The Chinese market may seem vast, but it is far from homogeneous. So while there are real opportunities for many business sectors, it is essential to study the structure of this market and its dynamics in advance. Indeed, if you want to do business in China for the long term, it’s essential to understand the mindset of the Chinese consumer. Influenced by a unique combination of traditional culture and modernity, these consumers have specific expectations that companies must recognize and satisfy.

Understanding the Chinese consumer

Understanding the Chinese consumer is the first step for any company looking to expand into China. A brief overview of consumer habits and interests.

Cultural values and their influence on buying habits

China, with its thousands of years of history, has a deeply rooted culture that can influence buying behavior. Certain values, such as respect for family and the value of saving, guide consumer choices and set the pace for certain purchases. For example, on special occasions such as Chinese New Year, it’s common to give expensive gifts to show respect and affection.

The Importance of Brand and Quality

Chinese consumers place a high value on brand reputation and product quality. A well-known brand is often associated with reliability and superior quality. For this reason, many foreign companies with a good international reputation have a clear advantage in the Chinese market.

The Role of Social Media and Influencers

With the rise of technology and the mass adoption of smartphones, social media plays an important role in the lives of Chinese consumers. Platforms such as TikTok have become essential sources of information for consumers. Influencers have a significant impact on purchasing decisions as they are perceived as reliable and authentic sources of information. They drive this digital commerce by offering live streaming on the main Chinese platforms, where they present products and generate a sometimes colossal volume of sales The rise of live streaming in China, a hot new sales channel – VVR International, strategic development, production, sourcing, distribution…

Meeting consumer expectations

Responding effectively to the needs of Chinese consumers requires an adapted and innovative approach, supported by a tailored marketing strategy and a multi-channel distribution network – Supply Chain & Distribution – VVR International, strategic development, production, sourcing, distribution… Here’s how companies can adapt to these expectations to ensure their success.

The Importance of Localizing Products and Services

China is a huge country with cultural and regional diversity. What works in one region may not be as effective in another. Therefore, localization of products and services is critical. This means not only language translation, but also adapting products, packaging and communication to local tastes, preferences and needs.

Customer service: a key element in gaining trust

Chinese consumers place a high value on customer service. Fast, efficient and courteous service can have a significant impact on brand perception. What’s more, word of mouth is powerful in China. A single bad customer experience can quickly spread across social networks and damage a company’s reputation.

Current and future trends to watch

The Chinese market is evolving rapidly. Companies need to stay on top of the latest trends and adapt accordingly. For example, the rise of e-commerce and certain platforms unknown in Europe, the growing importance of sustainability, and the appeal of local products are all trends that companies need to consider in their strategy.

Tips for foreign companies

Entering the Chinese market can seem daunting, but with the right strategies and a thorough understanding of the terrain, foreign companies can thrive. Discover some essential tips for successfully navigating this dynamic market.

Market Research and Local Partnerships

Before entering the Chinese market, it’s essential to conduct in-depth market research to understand local nuances. Working with local partners can also be advantageous, as they have intimate knowledge of the market and can help navigate the complex Chinese business landscape.

Adapt Marketing and Communications Strategies

Marketing and communications in China are very different from those in the West. Companies must adapt their messages to resonate with Chinese consumers. This may include using local celebrities for advertising campaigns or participating in local festivals and events to increase brand exposure. Relying on a local employee to represent the brand or product in China is an advantage when launching in China. Thanks to Portage Salarial, it is possible to hire a Chinese sales representative without having to set up a legal entity in China. In fact, VVR International provides a legal home for your employee. As part of our “PEO services, we manage your employee’s administrative affairs and act as an intermediary for the payment of salaries and other fees;

Understanding Local Regulations and Standards

China has its own regulations and standards for trade, quality and safety. Foreign companies need to ensure that they comply with these regulations and keep abreast of developments to avoid legal problems. This may involve working with local experts or consultants to ensure compliance.

The bottom line: Navigating the Chinese market with confidence

China, with its ever-evolving market and demanding consumers, offers immense opportunities for companies that are able to adapt and innovate. By focusing on localization, building strategic partnerships, and staying on top of the latest trends, companies can thrive in the Chinese market.

With over 24 years of experience, VVR International has assisted numerous European companies in their industrial and commercial development in China. Whether you’re looking to establish local brands, sell through distribution networks, recruit the best local talent on your behalf, or use the PEO services, VVR International’s teams are ready to assist you in your development project.

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Strategies for standing out in the ultra-competitive Chinese market

Strategies for standing out in the ultra-competitive Chinese market

The Chinese market is attractive, but with aggressive local competition and consumers with ever-higher expectations, how can a foreign company really stand out and win the trust of Chinese consumers? In this article, we’ll explore some proven tips for succeeding in this dynamic and sometimes unforgiving market, even in the face of fierce competition. Whether you’re new to the market or looking to consolidate your presence, these strategies could be the key to your success in China.

Understand and adapt to the Chinese culture

Entering the Chinese market without a thorough understanding of its culture and nuances is a common and costly mistake. Here are some key elements to keep in mind:

Importance of localization:

Chinese consumers appreciate brands that speak to them in their own language and respect their customs. This is more than just translation. Localization means adapting your messaging, design, and even aspects of your product or service to resonate with local audiences. Implementing a targeted, specific marketing strategy is essential to establishing yourself in the marketplace.

Cultural nuances:

From the color of packaging to local festivals, being aware of cultural nuances can help your company avoid major faux pas. For example, red is a lucky color in China, while white is often associated with mourning.

Work with local partners: Working with local partners, distributors and/or retailers can not only ease market entry, but also enhance your brand’s credibility. They can help you navigate regulatory complexities and better understand consumer preferences.

Maximize your digital presence

China is one of the most connected countries in the world, with a highly active population on digital platforms. Here’s how to optimize your online presence to reach and engage this audience:

The Chinese Social Media World:

In China, the main social networks are WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin. Each of these platforms has unique features and audiences that require tailored content strategies. For example, WeChat is ideal for CRM, while Douyin (the equivalent of TikTok) is essential for viral marketing. L’essor du live streaming en Chine, nouveau canal de vente en vogue – VVR International, développement stratégique, production, sourcing, distribution…

E-commerce and distribution platforms:

With platforms such as Tmall, and Pinduoduo, online commerce is a booming industry in China. Pinduoduo : l’avenir du e-commerce chinois – VVR International, développement stratégique, production, sourcing, distribution…. It’s essential to provide a smooth user experience and understand the nuances of Chinese e-commerce, such as specific “shopping days” (e.g. Singles’ Day).

Tailor content to the Chinese audience:

Create content that speaks directly to your Chinese consumers. This may mean working with local KOLs, producing customized videos, or even launching advertising campaigns specific to certain regions or cities.

Build strategic partnerships and collaborations

Collaboration is often the key to success, especially in a market as diverse and vast as China. Here’s how you can use collaborations to strengthen your position:

Work with recognized local brands:

Partnering with established Chinese brands can open doors for you and make it easier for the local public to accept your product or service. These collaborations can take the form of co-branding, cross-promotion, or joint marketing campaigns.

Attend trade shows and local events:

These events are an opportunity to meet potential partners, understand market trends, and showcase your products directly to Chinese consumers.

The Art of Succeeding in China: Adapt and Persevere

The Chinese market can be complex to navigate, but with a thorough understanding of the culture, the implementation of a multi-channel distribution strategy, and strategic alliances, your company can launch and sustain its business in China.

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Journey to the Heart of China’s Major Business Cities

Journey to the Heart of China’s Major Business Cities

With its sustained growth and immense market potential, China has become a popular destination for many foreign companies. However, the country is vast, and each city is a universe in itself, with its own peculiarities and opportunities. The art of succeeding in China lies not only in understanding its culture and economy, but also in choosing the right location in line with your strategy and objectives.

The economic pillars: Shanghai and Beijing

Shanghai: The Gateway

Formerly known as the “Paris of the East”, Shanghai is now at the heart of China’s economy. In addition to being a major financial center, this dynamic metropolis is a cultural melting pot that attracts talent from around the world. Its importance as a commercial hub offers a wealth of opportunities for foreign companies, whether in finance, trade or technology. A large proportion of the population has considerable purchasing power and a lifestyle compatible with the consumption of Western products. Shanghai is therefore a prime market for foreign companies, whose strategic interest is reinforced by the rich industrial fabric nearby.

Beijing: the heart of the nation

Beijing’s splendor is not limited to its historical and architectural heritage. As the capital of China, it is the nerve center where the most important political decisions are made. This proximity to power is an asset for companies looking to build strong relationships with regulators or understand the nuances of government policy. It is also a popular tourist destination for foreigners, but especially for Chinese who take advantage of their vacations to spend a few days in the capital. Beijing is also home to a growing technology ecosystem, with Zhongguancun often referred to as the “Silicon Valley of China”. Between innovative start-ups and established companies, the opportunities for foreign companies here are vast.

Innovation hubs: Shenzhen and Hangzhou

Shenzhen: the epicenter of innovation

Once a small fishing village, Shenzhen has become a global innovation hub over the past four decades. Today, it is home to technology giants such as Huawei and Tencent. The city’s electric atmosphere, combined with business-friendly policies and a commitment to innovation, make it a prime destination for start-ups and foreign technology companies.

Hangzhou: the cradle of entrepreneurship

Just an hour by train from Shanghai, Hangzhou, famous for its picturesque scenery, is the birthplace of e-commerce giant Alibaba. In recent years, the city has seen the emergence of a dynamic entrepreneurial environment supported by government initiatives. Hangzhou’s high-tech zones, such as the Qiantang River Valley Science and Technology Park, provide incentives for start-ups, and the presence of e-commerce leaders offers great opportunities for foreign companies to collaborate and integrate.

Diversity and potential: Guangzhou, Chengdu and Tianjin

Guangzhou: trading with the world

Guangzhou, one of China’s oldest trading cities, is still a major commercial hub, especially for import-export. The Canton Fair, China’s largest trade fair, attracts companies from all over the world every year. With privileged access to the Pearl River Delta, one of the world’s major manufacturing centers, Guangzhou is strategic for production and distribution-oriented companies.

Chengdu: Charm of the West

A world away from the hustle and bustle of the coastal cities lies Chengdu, the peaceful capital of Sichuan. Known for its pandas and spicy cuisine, the city is also a burgeoning technology hub. Thanks to government incentives, Chengdu is attracting both domestic and foreign companies. Its strategic location as a gateway to western China makes it ideal for companies looking to position themselves in this fast-growing market.

Tianjin: Industrialization and Modernity

Close to Beijing, Tianjin is a major industrial center with a modern infrastructure. It is home to several economic and technological development zones that facilitate the establishment of foreign companies. Tianjin is also a port city, which facilitates trade and export logistics.

Conclusion: Which destination to choose?

Although interconnected and open to the country as a whole, each city has its own advantages and challenges for companies looking to set up in China. The choice of location should be made after a careful assessment of your company’s needs and the opportunities each city has to offer. Whether you’re attracted by the dynamism of Shanghai, the innovation of Shenzhen, or the potential for expansion in Chengdu, it’s important to align your choice with your company’s long-term vision.

But it’s also important to remember that, far beyond its megacities, China has a wealth of densely populated, fast-growing secondary cities that could become the hubs of tomorrow. Analyzing and developing a strategy with the help of an expert with detailed knowledge of China’s economic geography, such as VVR International, can be the key to ensuring a successful first step in the country.

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Portage vs setting up a business in China: The duel

Portage vs setting up a business in China: The duel

Once the Chinese market has been identified as a real opportunity, there are two main strategies for accelerating your business development in China: portage and setting up a local company. While China continues to be a popular destination for international expansion due to its vast and dynamic market, choosing the best approach to enter requires careful consideration. By simplifying the process, portage appears to be an attractive option for companies wishing to test the waters. On the other hand, setting up a local entity offers an unparalleled level of control and commitment. However, each option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This article will examine these two strategies in detail, weighing up the pros and cons, to help companies make an informed choice tailored to their needs and objectives in China.

Advantages of Portage services in China

Portage salarial is a solution that enables a company to hire an employee in China without having to set up a local legal entity. Here are the main advantages:

Administrative simplification

Avoid the complexities involved in setting up and managing a local entity. The freelance administration company handles all the administrative, tax and social security formalities for you, and can even physically house your employee in its premises in China.


Financial flexibility

With portage solution, no investment is required to set up your team in China. The only costs are the actual operating costs (salaries, travel expenses, etc.). Companies can therefore test the Chinese market with minimal investment and a limited commitment.

Absence of legal and regulatory risks

The portage company masters Chinese labour legislation and takes care of the employee’s legal obligations and administrative management, thereby reducing the risks for the foreign company.

Speed of implementation

Once the new employee has been selected, companies can start their activities in China almost immediately, without waiting for the long lead times involved in setting up a company.

Disadvantages of portage in China

While portage offers a simplified entry into the Chinese market, it also has its limitations:

Potential long-term costs

Although less expensive initially, portage can become costly over time, particularly if the company wants to increase the number of employees working in China. In this case, portage is a temporary solution until a local legal entity can be set up. VVR International supports companies from the recruitment of their first employee to the setting up of their own entity in China.

Dependence on a third party

Trust in a portage company imposes a dependence that can limit strategic autonomy. This is why it can be a transitional solution. This first stage can be part of a development project. If you are planning to set up a long-term presence in China, we recommend that you use a company offering a strategic diagnosis and a range of services to support your development and ensure the long-term future of your business.

Less control over operations

By delegating the administrative, tax and legal aspects, companies can feel a lack of direct control over their activities and their employees. This can be countered by implementing effective communication and monitoring tools that are accessible in both Europe and China.

Advantages of setting up a business in China

Opting to set up your own business in China is an ambitious move that offers a number of significant advantages:

Full control over operations and strategy

Having your own business gives you total control, enabling you to adjust strategy and operations in line with market needs and opportunities.

Potential for growth and expansion

With a solid structure, companies have the freedom to grow, invest and expand without limitations.

Recognition and credibility in the local market

A local presence, by opening stores or premises dedicated to its business or to the distribution of its products, strengthens the confidence of Chinese consumers and partners, facilitating business relationships.

Cultural and market adaptability

Proximity to the market allows us to understand consumers even better, and to adapt more finely to cultural and commercial specificities.

Disadvantages of setting up a business in China

Despite its advantages, setting up an entity in China is also fraught with pitfalls that should not be overlooked:

A long and complex process

setting up a business in China can be an obstacle course, with lengthy and sometimes opaque administrative, regulatory and legal procedures.

Legal and regulatory risks

China has a distinct legal and regulatory environment that can pose challenges for foreign companies. Failure to comply with regulations can result in severe penalties.

High initial costs

Unlike freelance administration, setting up a business requires a substantial initial investment, particularly in terms of capital, time and resources.

Cultural and linguistic barriers

Cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and require constant adaptation.

Optimise your expansion in China with VVR International

The decision between portage and setting up a company in China is a crucial one, and largely depends on each company’s objectives, resources and long-term vision. While portage offers a quick and less risky entry into the Chinese market, a long-term vision with ambitions for solid expansion might lean towards setting up a company, despite its initial challenges.

However, this is not a choice to be made alone. With 23 years’ experience and more than 1,000 successful projects under its belt, VVR International is your trusted partner for securing and sustaining your business development in China.  VVR International carries out an initial diagnosis and works with you to devise a development strategy tailored to your business. VVR International then has the necessary licences and a dedicated HR team to recruit and support your employee in China or to help you set up an entity in China. Whatever your decision, VVR’s expertise will be a major asset in your conquest of the Chinese market.

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Advancing Frontiers: The Rise of Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques

Advancing Frontiers: The Rise of Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques

In the realm of medical science, the evolution from open surgical procedures to minimally invasive surgical techniques marks a significant stride towards better patient care and enhanced operational efficiency. This shift not only epitomizes the advancement of medical technology but also mirrors the relentless pursuit of reducing surgical invasiveness and the associated risks. The focus of this article is to unravel the various minimally invasive surgical techniques currently in use, the ongoing research aimed at honing these methods, and the global implications of such medical innovations.

Unveiling Modern Techniques

The scope of minimally invasive surgical techniques is continuously expanding, thanks to relentless innovations in medical technology. Here’s a glance at some of these modern techniques.


Known as keyhole surgery, laparoscopy is widely used in gastrointestinal, gynecological, and urological surgeries. Recent advancements include the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic assistance, enhancing surgical precision, but also Single-Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS), Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), and telementoring, which have shown promise in bettering surgical outcomes and patient recovery times. The global market for laparoscopy devices is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2020 to 2030, reflecting the escalating adoption of this technique.


Utilizing an endoscope, this technique allows visualization of internal body cavities. Surgical polarimetric endoscopy, a recent advancement, has been employed for the detection of laryngeal cancer. The year 2023 saw the launch of Olympus’s EVIS X1™ endoscopy system, marking a substantial stride in endoscopic technology​. The convergence of artificial intelligence and robotics with endoscopy is a trend to watch, as these technologies are driving further advancements in this domain.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery, once a futuristic idea, has become a reality with its application spanning across various surgical domains, including cardiothoracic, colorectal, urological (in particular with EDAP TMS’s FocalOne® robotic HIFU solution), general, gynecology, and head-and-neck surgery, driven by ongoing technological advances. The surgical robotics market, now exceeding $3 billion, is poised for significant growth, with an increased demand for Robotic-Assisted Surgery (RAS) across the globe.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery employs beams of light to cut, remove, or cauterize tissue, and is hailed for its precision and minimal damage to surrounding tissues. Recent advancements in refractive surgery, such as the rise of Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE) and the introduction of technically competitive laser systems, mark a paradigm shift in surgical precision, efficacy, and patient outcomes​. Improvements in aesthetic laser devices, including longer dye lives and increased wavelength capacities, contribute to the enhanced precision and accuracy of laser treatment​.

These techniques, each with its unique advancements, contribute to better patient care, faster recovery times, and reduced healthcare costs, showcasing significant strides in the surgical domain.

The Spectrum of Benefits

Minimally invasive surgical techniques hold a plethora of benefits that significantly enhance both patient care and operational efficiency. Here are the key advantages underscored by recent data:

Reduced Recovery Time

Smaller incisions expedite healing, enabling patients to resume normal activities sooner, substantiated by reduced postoperative complications and shorter hospital stays.

Lesser Pain and Scarring

Patients experience less post-operative pain and minimal scarring, contributing to better cosmetic results and an improved recovery experience​.

Lower Risk of Infection

The minimized exposure of internal body structures to potential contaminants lowers the risk of post-surgical infections, aligning with improved postoperative pain control and shortened postoperative hospitalization​.


Quicker recovery times, lower infection risks, and shorter hospital stays contribute to lower healthcare costs, aligning with the medico-economic benefits associated with MIS​.

Trailblazing Research and Emerging Techniques

The voyage of minimally invasive surgical techniques into new horizons is steered by groundbreaking research. Here’s a glimpse into the contemporary research and emerging techniques that are pushing the boundaries.

Robotic Assistance

The symbiosis of robotics with minimally invasive surgery is escalating surgical precision and control to unprecedented levels. The advent of sophisticated robotic systems is enabling surgeons to perform complex procedures with enhanced accuracy and minimal invasiveness. Recent innovations like the reconfigured robotic arm design, faster docking to reduce operative time, and fluorescence-detection to identify structures and lesions are notable advancements in this domain. Moreover, robotic-assisted surgery has become a popular trend offering prospective benefits to patients like shorter hospital stays, earlier recovery, and less pain, along with operational benefits to surgeons.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is the torchbearer of predictive analytics and real-time decision support during surgical procedures. It is fostering a paradigm of data-driven surgery, where AI algorithms aid in enhancing surgical precision and optimizing patient outcomes. While not aimed at replacing surgeons but rather at making most use of their experience and knowledge, AI has the potential to revolutionize surgery, particularly in technical skill assessment and integration into surgical robots, which paves the way for improved preoperative planning and intraoperative guidance.

3D Visualization and Augmented Reality (AR)

3D visualization and AR are revolutionizing the way surgeons interact with medical imaging data. Technologies like the XR90 augmented reality-based surgical visualization and navigation platform combine CT imaging with live ultrasound to perform minimally invasive procedures with enhanced precision. AR technology superimposes artificial targets onto a live view of patient anatomy, offering a more intuitive understanding of anatomical structures and enhancing surgical planning and execution.

Telemedicine and Remote Surgery

The combination of telemedicine with minimally invasive surgical techniques is greatly enhancing the application range for remote surgery and consultations. Telementoring, a form of remote teaching in surgery that includes more and more 3D/AR visualization modes, enriches the training options for surgical trainees, while telemedicine addresses some barriers to surgical care, especially in low- and middle-income countries, by providing remote healthcare services.

Advanced Imaging Technologies

Cutting-edge imaging technologies are the linchpin of successful minimally invasive procedures, offering clearer and more detailed visualizations crucial for surgical success. The evolution of medical imaging systems has been rapid, with the integration of artificial intelligence, cloud-based solutions, and mobile technology revolutionizing medical imaging.

Bridging Surgical Frontiers

The significance of minimally invasive surgical techniques extends beyond the operating rooms of developed nations to developing countries where healthcare resources are often limited. Moreover, the global reverberations of advancements in minimally invasive surgery are palpable, with countries like China embracing and investing in these techniques to foster a robust healthcare ecosystem.

VVR medical, a conduit for European innovators in medical technology and diagnostics, facilitates a smooth entry and establishment in the Chinese market, accelerating China market entry through strategic diagnosis, qualification, and efficient commercialization of products and services. This symbiosis of surgical advancements and market access strategies elucidates a promising trajectory towards a global surgical landscape that is not only efficient and effective but also inclusive and progressive, steering the global healthcare community towards a horizon where surgical care is more accessible, less invasive, and profoundly impactful.

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How do you pay for your purchases when travelling in China? The guide, by VVR International

China leads the way in the use of electronic payments in Asia and worldwide

In China, the preferred method of payment has shifted from cash to mobile payment, to the detriment of credit cards. Indeed, China is now the world leader in the use of payment via mobile phone applications. Alipay and WeChat Pay are the main payment methods used by almost the entire Chinese population, whether urban or rural, and can be used to pay for fruit from a street vendor or to buy a plane ticket to Europe.

Electronic payment: essential for accessing certain applications and services

Cash payments are still accepted in theory, with the exception of orders and services linked to applications such as DIDI, a very widespread car-for-hire service in China, equivalent to Uber, or home catering services. These applications can only be paid for by electronic payment. You will therefore not be able to order a DIDI driver without first setting up an electronic payment solution. Note that DIDI can be used directly via Alipay and has an English interface, which is not the case for all applications. In fact, some applications such as Meituan and, which sell takeaway food, are still only available in Chinese.

The decline in cash payments in all sectors of the Chinese economy

It should be noted, however, that the majority of vendors (taxi drivers, grocers, etc.) and businesses (restaurants and others, etc.) strongly prefer to be paid by Alipay and WeChat Pay rather than in cash.

In theory, international bankcards are accepted in shops, restaurants and hotels in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, but as terminals accepting international cards have been used very little or not at all over the last 3 years, this is no longer possible.

Electronic payment is now available to foreigners.

Historically, these 2 methods of payment were only available to holders of a bank card issued by a Chinese bank, which made travelling in China increasingly complex for non-resident foreigners.

To make your journey easier and ensure that you can make payments in all circumstances, it’s advisable to opt for one of the electronic payment options: WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Since August 2023, these methods have finally been accessible to foreigners who do not have a Chinese bank account! It is now possible to register for Alipay or WeChat Pay with :

  • a non-Chinese telephone number
  • foreign passport details
  • an international bank card

… Finally, create an Alipay and/or WeChat Pay account. Once you’ve done that, you can use these 2 applications for your everyday purchases.

The exchange rate applied to your transactions is set by the bank issuing your bank card. However, some functions, such as money transfers or red envelopes (an option for sending gifts to contacts, echoing the tradition of red envelopes given to children for the Chinese New Year), may not be accessible with a foreign bank card.

Before signing up for WeChat Pay and Alipay

  • Before registering for one of these applications, make sure that you are able to receive the verification codes by SMS that will be sent to you when you create your account (if not, you will need to obtain a Chinese SIM card).
  • It is possible to register from abroad, but identity verification must be carried out in China, as the face scan function is not available in some countries.

Practical installation guide : ALIPAY

  1. Download the application and sign up for the international version
  2. Add your bank account by pressing “add now”, then let the application guide you through the registration process.
  3. Scan the retailers’ QR codes or present your personal QR code to pay.

Practical installation guide : WECHATPAY

  1. Install WeChat on your phone (or make sure you have the latest version, update if necessary) then register with your phone number or log in.
  2. Activate Weixin Pay: to do this, click on “Me” – “Service” then “Wallet” in the application. You can also activate Weixin Pay by clicking on Me – settings – general – tools – weixin pay at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Enter your details and add a card by going to the Wallet tab and then pressing “add a card” to add your card. You will need to accept the terms of use and follow the steps to complete the identity details (if you are using a passport for this step, you will receive a notification prompting you to upload a copy of your ID to the app). Finally, press “Next” and follow the instructions in the application to add your card.
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PEO in China: the beginning of a development strategy

PEO involves using a company based in China to provide physical and legal housing for a foreign or Chinese employee. It allows companies that do not have an office in China to recruit and work with an employee locally. PEO solution is an important and sometimes decisive step to ensure a safe and successful development in China: the company can start its development while limiting risks and investments

It’s a transitional option between setting up and establishing a structure in China. The “portage” company offers support throughout the process of creation and acquisition of full autonomy.

In this way, PEO service offers companies wishing to enter the Chinese market the opportunity to gain an insight into the market without the need for a physical presence or a legal entity in China. This solution offers great flexibility and efficiency in deployment and customization. The employee is almost immediately ready to operate locally.

Thanks to its support and in-depth knowledge of the Chinese labor market and its legislation, the PEO services company enables the foreign company to start its business in China without the need for specific experience or multicultural management skills.

The company delegates the management of the employee’s payroll and related administrative formalities to all local authorities. In effect, the third-party company becomes the local employer of the employee, who benefits from a local contract. As such, the umbrella company will take the necessary steps to obtain work visas and residence permits for foreign employees coming to work in China. The company will act as an intermediary for the payment of salaries and the various taxes and charges associated with the employee (insurance, contributions).

Our HR Team in China is responsible for managing and monitoring the employee’s expenses and is the local contact person for maintaining solid contact with the employee in China. Finally, if necessary, the company can rent office space or any other premises required for the company’s activities in China.


PEO is strictly regulated in China. Few companies can legally offer this service. In fact, VVR International is the only European company to benefit from licenses recognized by the Chinese authorities, such as the Labor Dispatch License. It should be noted that the portage of a Chinese employee and that of a foreign employee are not regulated in the same way by law.

In China, PEO requires the PEO company to pay all taxes and social security contributions in the employee’s place of residence. Thanks to its multiple locations, including four strategic regions of the country – Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shijiazhuang – VVR International offers a wide choice of zones in which to develop the company’s activities according to its field and strategy.


Differences in culture and work practices can be an obstacle, leading to misunderstandings that negatively affect a company’s operations in China. VVR International, with its strong presence in France and China and its experts in human resources and in the management of Chinese teams, ensures that the collaboration is set up in the best possible conditions and helps to manage difficult and unforeseen situations (accidents, resignations, epidemics, etc.).


The choice of employees is crucial to the success of the first stages of development in China. That’s why, in addition to our PEO services, VVR International’s teams can take care of the recruitment of a new Chinese or foreign employee.

Thanks to the expertise of its dedicated VVR RH department, VVR International will search, interview, sort through a unique process and finally select the best talents to offer you the ideal candidate for recruitment. To do this, our teams will carry out a diagnosis of the company and its needs in order to define the profile best suited to the position.

Download our fact sheet on PEO in China.

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Interview with Camille Verchery, in the newletter of the Club Chine de l’EM Lyon

Camille Verchery, Director and Founder of VVR International, discusses the strengths and dynamics of the Chinese market and highlights the opportunities for French companies in an interview with the Club Chine de l’EM Lyon.


First and foremost, Energy has become a strategic sector for China in just a few years. Lacking fossil fuels, the country has invested heavily in research and development of alternatives to increase its independence from the rest of the world. As a result, China is now a leader in wind and photovoltaic energy, as well as nuclear power. It is also a major player in the battery industry and hydrogen technologies.

The challenge for French companies at the forefront of these fields will be to position themselves on the Chinese market, which is hungry for innovative technologies.


The Chinese healthcare market is extremely dynamic. Growth is driven by an aging population and increasing demand for healthcare services. China is keen to benefit from the excellence of foreign companies in this sector and is pursuing an attractive policy.

Finally, the introduction of social security as part of the government’s drive to improve the overall health of the population offers numerous development opportunities for innovative French healthcare and medical device companies.


China has become one of the world’s leading incubators for start-ups. This success is driven by government funding and incentive policies that recognize the critical and strategic role of innovation in the international political and economic game.

In this context, the challenge is to identify the sectors in which France is a leader and to analyze Chinese advances in order to develop strategies that will enable French companies to benefit from them.


Given the current market dynamics and challenges, the international development of companies is often destined to go beyond China. That’s why VVR International co-founded Globallians. Today, this network of partners brings together 16 international development support companies, each specializing in a particular region of the world.

By working together through the Globallians network, these companies are able to help companies expand internationally while providing the expertise needed to address the unique characteristics of each target region.

Read the full interview online on EM Lyon’s LinkedIn page, or click here to download the PDF.

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First, second, third and fourth-tier cities

A May 2018 report by Morgan Stanley asserts that the future of China’s growth (by 2030) will lie within lower-tier cities (namely the third and fourth-tier). It is more and more common to see economic analyses regarding China make use of this urban classification. While being a useful analytical tool to understand China’s society, the definition of tiers is actually not so obvious and requires that we stop for a while and think about it.  This article thus gives you the keys to better understand this aspect of China, and the resultant opportunities for your businesses.

A ranking of cities

To begin with, there is no official definition of what is a first, a second, a third and a fourth-tier city in China. To give you a general idea, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Canton are unanimously classified as first-tier cities, while second-tier cities are generally provinces’ capitals. Yet, some rankings would label Suzhou and Wuxi as second-tier cities because of their economic growth and despite the fact that they are not capitals. Similarly, Hefei, the capital of Anhui province, is sometimes categorized as a third-tier city because of its weak domestic growth. Three-tier cities generally include non-capital cities with a dynamic economy (high economic growth rate). Lastly, fourth-tier cities are important cities in terms of their population size, but which economy is not so flourishing.

Each year, Yicai Media Group’s Rising Lab issues a ranking of the Chinese cities in terms of tier and make part of their methodology open to the public, allowing us to take a look at their criteria (Yicai Media Group is one of the first economic media in China). They use five criteria: the density of commercial resources, the degree of transportation’s connectivity (is the city a hub?), urban residents’ habits (to what extent do they use e-commerce?), the diversity of activities available in the city and the degree of visibility into the city’s future (the real estate market, the fluidity of the road traffic, the pollution, the talents’ attractiveness, the entrepreneurial index…) Be aware, classifying a city in a first, second, third of fourth-tier is likely to have a tangible impact on the city’s real estate price…

Thus, each organization speaking about tier cities is likely to have their own and different criteria. Most criteria revolve around the local GDP, the population size, and the administrative status of the city (whether it is a province’s capital or not). While the type of criteria does not vary so much from a report to another, the way it is measured does, inducing porous frontiers between different tiers: some cities can be classified in different tiers. Furthermore, the denomination “lower-tier cities” technically encompasses second, third and fourth-tier cities. This can be misleading since second-tier cities are generally wealthier than the average Chinese city.

Another limit in this definition is that very different realities are described with the same word. Indeed, second-tier cities include industrial cities (Tianjin, Wuhan, Changsha…) coastal cities whose consumption market is more developed (Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou…) as well as inland cities, often industrial but that are also becoming hubs with the One-Belt-One-Road initiative (Chengdu, Chongqing…)

A map of consumers

Despite these limits, knowing the tier of a city still is useful as a reading grid to understand to some extent the geographical diversity of China. Morgan Stanley’s report is an illustration of it, identifying a 6,9 trillion USD potential for growth within third and fourth-tier cities by 2030. They identify more specifically five city-clusters with high growth potential: the Jing-Jin-Ji region, the Yangtze River delta, the Canton bay, the Mid-Yangtze region, and the Chengdu-Chongqing area.

They support this assertion by several arguments, the first one being political support for growth in these very cities. Indeed, the central government and regional governments have been recently issuing many development plans, respectively inter-regional and intra-regional, allocating wide investments in connectivity infrastructures. As a result, there has been a multiplication of high-speed trains connections which divides the travel time by two and helps dis-enclave cities.

Besides, the cities offer financial allocations to help young talents buy real estate properties, a must do after graduation in China (this refers mainly to second-tier cities which have the financial resources for it). Besides, contrary to first-tier cities (except from Shenzhen) who implement stricter hukou* policies in order to hamper their population’s growth, second-tier cities make the promotion of their hukou policies, easy to obtain for young talents. As a result, Morgan Stanley’s report forecasts a 2.5% annual urban growth in lower-tier cities between 2017 and 2030. Lower-tier cities also have a higher fertility rate which accounts for this higher growth, as life costs (and the costs of having a child) are lower than in Beijing or Shanghai.

For European companies, as well as for Chinese ones, this demographic evolution means that lower-tier cities, especially second-tier cities, will gather an increasingly qualified manpower as well as better infrastructures in the near future. Implementation costs are to decrease, while labor costs are increasing on the coast. Chinese and foreign companies already started to move in these inland cities (cf VVR’s September article).

Another consequence of interest for European businesses lies in distribution. Indeed, more and more retailers are attracted to these new and untapped markets opening in these smaller cities, as they become more accessible and people’s incomes are increasing. Firstly, residents from these cities devote a larger part of their budget to discretionary spending as their fixed costs are lower (rents). Besides, although there is in these cities a smaller part of the population earning enough to afford European products (often more expensive and assimilated to rather high-end products), the quantities bought per consumer are comparatively larger than in first-tier cities. In other words, less people buy European goods, but the ones who do buy more of them.

Turning more specifically to these consumers’ habits, a survey by AlphaWise on more than 3000 households notes that the income gap between first-tier and lower-tier cities is reducing, but also that consumption habits changed significantly. Third and fourth-tier cities’ consumers now pay more attention to the value of the goods they buy: they upgrade their consumption and are increasingly sensitive to brands (mostly local brands for now). They also care about the fastness, quality and entertainment’s aspect of the service. In terms of industries, the sectors of daily consumption goods shall mostly benefit from these changes: house appliance, food & beverage (especially dairy products), beauty products and make-up… Most of this growth is also expected to happen within the e-commerce because of accessibility reasons. The entertainment industry (cinema, tourism) and the education industry are also likely to see some positive trends in their consumers’ pool.

There are yet some limits to this overall positive picture of the economic potential within lower-tier cities.   Firstly, today, the costs and risks of implementation in third and four-tier cities are still rather high: quality retail spaces are still few, and the size of the consumers’ pool remains to be verified. Thus, it is recommended to use e-commerce to test these markets (although this retail channel also bears its own limitations, cf VVR’s July article).

Furthermore, third and fourth-tier cities’ consumers might have a similar spending power as in the first and second-tier cities, this does not mean that they have similar consumption habits: it is crucial to analyze accurately the local consumption habits and to not launch a product merely because “it worked well in Shanghai”. Each expansion strategy must be thought locally and a dose of education on international products (on geographical indications for instance) might very well be necessary.

Lastly, the consumption’s growth in the lower-tier cities is conditional upon regulatory changes, especially regarding the real estate market. Indeed, these cities’ attractiveness relies on their low real estate prices, enabling young households to buy property. Besides, these young households’ budget is also less taken up by rent and more is available for consumption. On that point, there is no study that is today forecasting such a change in the near future.

In short, China has diverse markets, and it is important to understand their local specificity. Tiers are one way to approach diversity and allows for the above analyses. It is then one way, but it is not the only one and it can not account for the entire diversity of China. For instance, it is also important for retailers and employers to understand the different generations in China…

* The hukou is a resident permit that each Chinese citizen gets, binding them to a province (Shanghai’s hukou, Beijing’s hukou, Jiangsu’s hukou). It is rather similar to a province-scale “nationality” and serves to obtain a right to some public services in the location of the hukou.

By Manon Bellon

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Taobao : It is Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, launched back in 2003. This C2C platform gathers today over 500 millions of active users. Besides, they also developed a B2C platform in 2008 called T-Mall. These two platforms saw the transaction of some 3 trillion yuans over the year 2017.

It is very likely that a large part of the Halloween costumes worn this year in the coastal cities all come from the same place: a small village in a rural province of China, which specialized in the confection of costumes that they then sell online. This is what we call a “Taobao village”, another aspect of the retail revolution taking place in China. In this month’s article, we provide you with a reading of this phenomenon, which we hope can also be a source of inspiration for your approach of the Chinese e-commerce. What are exactly these “Taobao villages”? How rural entrepreneurs with few resources at hand managed to appropriate these tools and how do they use it? Knowing about “Taobao villages” and these micro-enterprises can be of interest, especially for European retail companies who also need to appropriate themselves the Chinese e-commerce.

A rural community geared towards e-commerce

The official definition of a “Taobao village” is a rural community in which at least 10% of the families use Taobao for retail, or where 100 online shops were open; and where the trading volume reach at least 10 millions of yuans. This definition is given by Aliresearch, the research department from Alibaba, whose mission is to collect and make use of the enormous amount of data Alibaba have at hands. The “Taobao villages” developed themselves firstly with Alibaba (hence their names, from Alibaba’s famous e-commerce platform). The Chinese authorities were then prompt to support these initiatives as they contribute to reach primordial goals set in the 13th Five-Year Plan: eliminating poverty, developing the Western provinces and slowing down the rural exodus. As a matter of fact, 45% of the Chinese population still lives in villages (often much bigger than our European villages). The dose of personal entrepreneurship at the roots of “Taobao villages” is seen very positively by the authorities: seen as one of the key of the development success of coastal cities in China, entrepreneurship now moves to the countryside. Today, are promoting their own platform to rural communities.

Increasing by 25% in 2015, the number of “Taobao villages” reached 2 118 in 2017, with a total of 120billion of yuans in sales (Aliresearch). Overall, 1.3% of the Chinese population is involved in some e-commerce activity in 2017 (approximately 10 millions). Alibaba’s support is concretized in a 2017-2019 investment plan amounting to 1.6 billions of dollars. Their objective is to open 100 000 Taobao centers in rural places. The Chinese government also makes substantial investments (for the reasons mentioned above). It claims 300 millions of dollars allocated to 200 rural counties to build warehouses, train skilled manpower… The government overtly encourages young Chinese to come back to their native villages to open businesses. It seems so far to be working as 52% of these online entrepreneurs are less than 30.

An experimenting field for micro-enterprises

These statistics seem to point at the success of a rather new business model, with a unique management style: these micro-enterprises are often run by people will low qualification level, who seize the opportunity of low entry barriers to experiment, test their products with the market and adapt them, thanks to the statistics provided by Taobao and the customers feedbacks available. Most of these micro-enterprises produce in the villages and then sell in the cities, but some are the other way around. For those who sell in the cities, e-commerce brought them a significant improvement as it abolishes distances and they could get access to markets where consumers have more purchasing power. Regarding what is sold, there are different strategies. Some villages get specialized in the local food products (Ningxia’s Goji berries, Suichang’s bamboos shoots, tea and sweet potatoes…) while some others get specialized in a product that is not related at all to their localization (outdoor equipment, costumes…) An interesting pattern then stands out: most of the time, the online shops of a village all get involved in the same activity, bringing the specialization to the level of the village (and constructing thereby a sense of identity within the products). The very denomination “Taobao villages” implies an organization to the level of the village. Lastly, it seems that local food products are more successful as consumers await local products that are cheaper and potentially healthier (organic agriculture).

Regional specialization?

Not only do “Taobao villages” bring new products to the coastal cities’ consumers, but it also impacts on the very structure of these villages, creating new associations. In order to guarantee a certain quality for instance, some villages put in place “Taobao associations”, in a way similar to the industry chambers. Moreover, “Taobao villages” require a development of the tertiary sector (sales, delivery, storage), which in some cases amounts to 50% of the local gross product. At last, other activities develop, such as the eco-tourism. This last aspect is all the more interesting as it is also readily observable in Europe. Not mentioning the thematic travels around Europe (such as “Grands Crus tours” in Fance), every year more numerous, one can think of this small Bulgarian village, Momchilovtsi, which local yogurt became extremely popular in China recently, albeit because of a company and not because of e-commerce. As a result, this village now sees buses of Chinese tourists coming to visit. This example is telling as it shows the strength of local identity in nowadays branding in China.

How to fight competition on these platforms

“Taobao villages” actually do not alwqys run so smoothly, and they do encounter some difficulties. First of all, access to digital technologies is still limited in rural China with 1% of the families having a broadband connection in most of the villages (the official goal announced in “Internet+” is a 98% coverage by 2020). Another limit which is more closely linked to the e-commerce characteristics: branding remains limited and many businesses suffer fakes issues. Thus, in Qingyangliu, a “Taobao village”, only 20% to 30% of the businesses are making profit. The identified cause is the fact that the market is saturated and dominated by large companies.

Seeing either as an opportunity, or as a concept with a debatable long-term profit, “Taobao villages” nonetheless are a characteristic trait of the revolution of retail in China. They picture the dynamic entrepreneurial mindset of Chinese businessmen. They also confirm the analysis that e-commerce in China do open many opportunities because of the low entry barriers and larger access, but that many challenges remain when it comes to build a brand image on this already saturated market.

By Manon Bellon

Image credits: Greg Jenkins

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