Companies hoping to do business in China will have to play by China’s rules. The world’s largest market hasn’t changed, even with the country’s joining the World Trade Organization last year. E-commerce business models in China must be at once technologically more sophisticated and operationally more basic than those at home.
On the technology side, companies entering China should consider investing in wireless Internet access. The Chinese Ministry of Information Industry has made wireless technology one of its top priorities. China’s mobile Internet user base is expected to approach the number of traditional Internet users by 2005, according to BDA China, an IT market research company in Beijing. Companies setting up shop in China must also prepare to comply with China’s homegrown IT standards.
On the operations side, get used to cash payments. Most Chinese citizens don’t have credit or debit cards. Dell Computer, for one, lets customers pay cash for their purchases at local banks.