C.i. Process China consulting

China market research, competition, regulations, trends 2024

By C.i. Process Shanghai
[ Market screening ]
Market research and regulations in China

The Chinese market is not only increasingly competitive but also renowned for being difficult to access, opaque, and potentially risky. Conducting preliminary research helps to reduce risks and uncertainties by assessing potential, targeting opportunities, and measuring current trends and conditions of access.

What competiton, consumption habits, and prospects exist? What distribution networks should you use? Are there preferential conditions for establishing your project? What strategy and deployment timeline to adopt?

China market report content
  Publication updated on July 5, 2024      

1. Information Search on the Chinese market

Unlike general publications, our research reports are personalized analyses that consider the actual business context and information on the ground and up-to-date regulations for 2024. They aim to address key questions for the proper preparation of a domestic distribution project, whether it involves production in China for local sale, export, or direct setup of a sales subsidiary in China.

Here are some examples of questions and information examined in our reports:


a. Competitive analysis and product positioning

  • Identification of Competitors: Analysis of Chinese and foreign competitors' technologies, products, and services, along with their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Market Maturity: Evaluation of market maturity for the company and its products. Statistical data crossed with official statistics when available, crossed with figures from professionals, business field associations and Customs.

  • Substitute Products: Existence of substitute products coming from other markets.

  • Cultural Preferences: Consideration of cultural consumption habits and preferences.

  • Distribution Networks: Identification of preferred distribution networks and conditions for access.

  • Competitive Risks: Review of situations and risks of denunciation by unscrupulous competitors.

  • Trade terms : which incoterm for international trade and payment terms should be proposed?

  • Best practices : what are the best practices for a sustainable retail (B2C) activity?

  • Main Pitfalls: Identification of the main pitfalls to avoid.

  • Case Studies: Analysis of successes and associated risks.


b. Regulatory framework for market access in China

  • Import Duties and Taxes: Research of import duties and taxes as well as possible special or preferential customs regimes.

  • Quotas and Limits: Existence of quotas and their limits.

  • Product Compliance and Certification: Conditions for compliance and certification of products upon import.

  • Administrative and Fiscal Treatment: Administrative and tax management of professional services associated with B2B sales in China (installation, assembly, maintenance, repair, returns, after-sales service).

  • Non-Tariff Barriers: Research of non-tariff barriers or rules that may slow down market entry or hinder competitiveness.

  • Transfer of Know-How: Optimization of the transfer of know-how, technologies, and intellectual property.

c. Target market size and market share estimates

china market opportunities in modern cities
  • Promising Market Segments: Review of promising market segments in line with current capabilities and strategy.

  • Commercial Practices: Study of commercial practices and distributors network.

  • Distribution Channels: Comparison of distribution channels: direct sales and cross-border e-commerce sales.

  • Partner Reputation: Review of the reputation of current or potential distribution partners.

d. Markets trends and watch

  • Market Potential Evaluation: Segmentation by product or service range.

  • Regional Consumption Trends: Research of consumption trends by major Chinese cities or provinces.

  • Distribution Channels Trends: Study of trends in the evolution and strategies of distribution.

  • Competitiveness and Attractiveness Criteria: Real and perceived criteria of competitiveness and attractiveness.

  • Trend Indicators: Indicators of trends likely to impact the evolution of the target market.

  • Competitive Investments: Analysis of competiton investments, government programs, policy changes, new regulations, and local implementation.

  • Post-COVID-19 Opportunities: Analysis of opportunities and changes in the competition landscape post-COVID. China was mostly hit by the pandemy in the year 2022. Some competitors left and new ones are coming.


e. Strategic analysis and distribution channels


  • Selling in China with a Subsidiary: Advantages of having a 100% foreign owned LLC company to better control distribution.

  • Partner Networks: Preference for partner distribution networks and verification of their reliability and performance.

  • Partnership and JV: Opportunities for partnering with a Chinese company in case of a joint-venture distribution plan.

  • Product Segmentation: Strategies for segmenting product families.

  • Distribution Solutions: Comparison of solutions and cost assumptions for warehousing and distribution.

  • E-commerce: Setting up and controlling online sales (e-commerce) in China.

  • Free Trade Zones: Opportunity to use a warehouse in one of China's 21 Free Trade Zones (FTZ) or in the largest Free Trade Port of Hainan.

  • Intellectual Property: Considerations for intellectual property protection, taking into account recent regulatory reinforcements.

  • Logistics: comparison of the option and estimate the cost for warehousing and China inland logistics.


f. Product certification and registration in China


  • Certification Standards: Identification of applicable certification standards and marks (CCC, CQC, CCAP, SELO, etc.) and review of required testing and audit protocols.

  • Chinese Quality Labels: Deployment of Chinese quality labels and standards distinct from European and American references.

  • Sensitive Products: Procedures to follow for highly regulated and controlled products to obtain special licenses or permits. Applying a normative organization distinct from those of Europe and the USA, the Chinese authorities continue to deploy their own norms and standards. This sometimes leads foreign brands to change the composition or proportion of components of products sold in China. This is the case, for example, for certain chemicals, coatings, paints, cosmetics.

  • Customs Registration: Food exporters and manufacturers shall register separately at the China Customs (GACC).

The parameters listed above illustrate some of the topics we address in our studies and analyses.



2. Regulatory Watch and Normative Monitoring from a Chinese Perspective

a. About Chinese standards and norms

china market research and regulatory watch
  • Non-Tariff Barrier Tool: As China becomes a central player in global trade, the authorities have established a unique system of standards and product certification.

  • Chinese Norms Reference: The reference for Chinese norms (GB or "Guo biao" for national standard) guides certification tests. Many products do not have a specific Chinese norm, which does not mean that the compliance certificate from another country is recognized.

  • Documentary Requirements: Simulations with Chinese authorities highlight documentary requirements for imports by a direct subsidiary in China or by one or more distributors.
  • Simulations conducted with the Chinese authorities make it possible to highlight the documents required that must, for example, accompany an importation made by :


b. Product Certification in China

  • Certification Needs: The need for product certification according to Chinese standards.

  • Administrative context: Reorganizations of Chinese administrations in charge of product certifications and sanitary controls lead to frequent regulatory updates. This particularly affects sensitive products widely exported by international companies, such as food and beverages (CFDA) or skin care products and medical devices (NMPA) as well as chemicals or hazardous items

  • Compliance Recognition: Chinese customs and other market control authorities do not recognize a US or European conformity certificate, nor a test report referring to non-Chinese standards.

  • Certification Solutions: Comparison of available solutions for certification and review of risks.

CCC mark china
CNAS china

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