Just finished reading the book, China’s Super Consumers: What 1 Billion Customers Want and How to Sell it to Them, by Michael Zakkour and Savio Chan. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it for anyone with a product or a service that is being sold or could be sold to China’s consumers. It is also a very good book for any foreign company doing business in China or looking to do so.

Amazon (for once) beautifully and accurately describes what this book is about:

China’s Super Consumers explores the extraordinary birth of consumerism in China and explains who these super consumers are. China’s Super Consumers offers an in-depth explanation of what’s inside the minds of Chinese consumers and explores what they buy, where they buy, how they buy, and most importantly why they buy.

The book is filled with real-world stories of the foreign and domestic companies, leading brands, and top executives who have succeeded in selling to this burgeoning marketplace. This remarkable book also takes you inside the boardrooms of the people who understand Chinese consumers and have had success in the Chinese market.

  • A hands-on resource for succeeding in the Chinese marketplace
  • Filled with real-world stories of companies who have made an impact in China
  • Discover what the Chinese consumer wants and how to deliver the goods
  • Written by Savio Chan and Michael Zakkour, two leading experts on the Chinese market

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants a clear understanding of how China’s Super Consumers are changing the world and how to sell to them.

Yep, that nails it.

The book is written in the sort of clear, helpful, no-nonsense style eminently appropriate for this sort of business book. Though the book makes clear that the opportunities for selling into China are great, the risks of doing so are also great, particularly for newcomers who believe China is no different from the Western countries from which they came. The book also does not just just follow the crowd when it comes to analyzing China. Much of what it says is truly original and clearly discerned from decades of experience. Mike started in China with a Chinese company that sold pig leather coats and the owner of the company had Mike spend weeks at a Chinese pig farm as his introduction to the company. That sort of background helps.

My personal favorite part of the book (of course) was the part that quotes me. The section is on using e-commerce to sell into China and here too, it nicely describes both the opportunities and the potential pitfalls. It lays out the following “challenges” for brands and retailers:

  • Fierce competition and a crowded marketplace.
  • Confusion about what platforms are available and best suited to their needs.
  • Finding the right mix of third-party platforms, owned and operated e-commerce platforms, and consumer-generated commerce.
  • Assuming you can enter and succeed in China with an e-commerce-only plan.
  • Supply chain infrastructure, especially warehousing, e-fulfillment, cross-country shipping, and last-mile delivery.
  • Controlling intellectual property (IP), parallel imports and graymarket issues.

It then has this to say about the IP challenge:

China law-expert Dan Harris, author of the influential and award winning China Law Blog, says, “Companies who are selling in China need to make registration of their trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual priority their first priority.” He continues, “China is a first-to-file country, not first to use, so whether you are selling or making something in China, without up-front IP due diligence and action, it is not a matter of if you will get infringed upon, but when.

The danger is exponentially worse online. Our lawyers spend a good chunk of their time trying to remedy IP infringements generated though e-commerce, but many companies are learning that spending on prevention is cheaper than spending on remedies,” said Harris.

Let’s be clear, explicit and blunt: If you put your products up for sale online in China and you have not registered your trademarks, copyrights and all other IP in China, You no longer own it. Someone else does.

Bottom Line: Buy China’s Super Consumers: What 1 Billion Customers Want and How to Sell it to Them if you have a product or service for China.

Photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network.  His work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

He was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), is rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (also its highest rating), and is a recognized SuperLawyer.

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and constantly travels between the United States and Asia. He most commonly speaks on China law issues and is the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog. Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed Dan regarding various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan is licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at his firm, Dan focuses on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.