How to sell automation solutions to China?

China has rapidly become a global leader in automated smart factoring. They are the first buyer of automation solution, robots, machines. in China in 2020. 87,000 were sold

From 2019 to 2021, an increase of 15% on average per year for industrial automated solution.

It is an eldorado for any machinery firms .

Made in China 2025

The Chinese president Xi wants to transform China from a human manufacturing giant into a world smart manufacturing power according to the 5 year national plan “Made in China 2025”.

Smart factories get subvention in China. The National strategy includes to boost China factory of robot – automated solution and increasing their oversea presence.

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Chinese Population

In 2021, the +60 Chinese population represented 17.9% of its population.

By 2050 this figure is expected to reach 34.6% of the Chinese population.

China recently removed its one-child policy implemented in 1979, and Chinese couples now are allowed to have up to 3 children.

Despite these new policies implemented by the Chinese government, in 2020 China experienced its lowest birth rate since 1949.

China sees an increasing number of young people enjoying their single life, refusing to stick to the traditional scheme of marriage + car+ Appartement + baby.

Raising a kid in China requires increasing investment, and more and more millennials and GenZ refuse to raise kids, preferring to leave for themselves, avoiding the burdening pressure of raising kids.

As a result, the aging population in China will become the greatest challenge for the country over the decades to come, having a huge impact on its economy.

in China a ‘X Factory’ Replaces 600 Humans With 60 Robots

One thing’s for sure: Smart robots are about to be THE big thing in manufacturing in China


Additional factors are also likely to challenge China’s economy in addition to its aging population:

-The increasing cost of labor

Over the last 10 years, the minimum wage increased by almost 80% in China (from 1450rmb in 2012 to 2590rmb/month in 2022).

-Rarefaction of low-skilled labor

With an increasing number of educated people and aspirations for a better life in China, it is getting harder and harder for factories to recruit and keep low-skilled/low-cost labor to execute dull tasks.

-Recent disruption due to lockdowns

Since the beginning of 2022, as the rest of the world started getting back to normal life and living with the covid, major cities all over China experienced the most severe lockdowns since the beginning of the global outbreak.

Sticking to its 0 covid policy, all economic sectors in China are suffering from start and stop activities.

To cope with these ongoing and coming challenges, it is predictable that China will accelerate at an even higher pace the automation of the country in many areas.

A single robot can replace on average 70,000 hours of manual labor per year.

Last year the import of industrial robots to China saw an increase of 45% on a year-on-year basis. Representing more than 243,000 pieces.

In the same year, China installed as many robots as the rest of the world.

Projections estimate that by 2050 in China, robotic density in the industry will be 37 units for every 1000 people.

China aims to build more and more smart factories all over the country to anticipate the labor shortage expected around 2050.

Automation in China will soon be everywhere.

Automated vehicles, automated logistics, automated ports, automated industries…

Even though Chinese manufacturers produce more and more robots, the country is still deficient in high-end automation devices and systems, caused by insufficient technology accumulation and high-end supplies.

Therefore, the country will still rely on foreign automation experts and manufacturers to reach the needed automation level for its entire economy.

That being said, if you are an automation player willing to sell your solution in China, that doesn’t mean that your products will be easy to sell even if the demand is high.

Obstacles will be on the way, and you need to get prepared to pass them to succeed.

The fact is that the Chinese market is unique. Especially since the Covid outbreak, and the recent strict outbreak made it harsh for business people to meet in person.

We assist in an exacerbation of the digitalization of businesses that were already central before 2019.

No more exhibitions (or extremely hard to attend, or canceled at the last minute for disease control reasons). With recent lockdowns popping up everywhere in China, many flights have been canceled, impossible to meet in person.

Therefore, let’s try to see the bright side, it’s good for the planet and it reduces drastically the business trips budget.

The key for your automation company to successfully reach the Chinese industrial buyers therefore will have a major party of your efforts online to generate leads.

How do you generate leads in the Chinese digital environment?

It starts just like you would do anywhere else. Having a website.

Having a website in Chinese is only common sense unless you want your potential Chinese buyers to run away from it.

Knowing that in China Google is not available, here the biggest search engine is called Baidu.

Therefore, your website will not only need to be submitted to Baidu but should also be hosted in China to avoid being blocked or slowed by the Chinese Firewall.

Don’t let your competitors take your ranking

On Baidu, the better your rank the more chance of receiving requests will be.

It is simple

when Chinese buyers do their research online, they will reach out to only the first companies appearing as per the keywords they used.

To put all your chance on your side, choose carefully your keywords not only per search volume but also by conversion rate. Long-tailed keywords are a proper manner to be well ranked with less competition.

If you are a high-technology robot manufacturer specializing in underwater robots, don’t bet on simple keywords like “robot manufacturer”, but on “high-quality underwater robots’ manufacturer”. It will also help you to narrow your target and receive more qualified links.

This is SEO, the most effective and sustainable way to rank well your website on Baidu. But beware that this strategy takes months before being fruitful, be patient.

If you want to receive leads as soon as your Chinese website is ready, you still have the possibility to go for PPC (paid per click= ads) on Baidu. That’s a certain cost but you have immediate results. Be aware that once you stop buying, your site stops ranking. It should only be used temporarily, while your website starts to rank “naturally” with SEO.

There are a lot of fish in the automation industry ocean, you must stand out by your reputation

Once the buyers reached the automation suppliers they found on Baidu and send them their requests, they will also check online what is being said about them.

Among the first potential suppliers, they will decline will be the ones they found no information or little information about.

The Chinese buyers

The Chinese buyers will estimate your reliability and your reputation not based on what you claim but on what third parties say. Mostly they will consider reviews on specialized forums and online media as the most reliable sources to estimate your reputation.

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The more positive feeds on forums and the more articles online speaking about your company and its expertise, the higher the chance to turn these prospects into clients and be seen as a reliable business partner.

Don’t underestimate the prospects that are not buying now

They are precious assets that should not be neglected.

Keeping in touch with your potential buyers will help you to nurture them and increase your chance to transform them into clients in the future.

In China, you can forget emails to do so, as its use is slowly fading away.

Social media are fully integrated into people’s lives and became pillars organizing their lives.

WeChat B2B marketing

WeChat is undoubtfully the most integrated and comprehensive one. Allowing multiple functions, like chatting, calling, following companies, sharing content, paying, ordering anything from a taxi, to groceries to booking laundry services, booking doctor’s appointments…

Having an official account for your company offers multiple advantages:

-It shows you are embracing the Chinese market and the buyer’s habits

-Allows your prospects to communicate with you conveniently

-Nurture your prospect by sharing news on your official account

-Sharing easily your info through your menu (like a mini website) and your brochure

To put it simply, WeChat will become the preferred contact point of your buyers.

Embrace the GenZ trends

Many of your B2B buyers will be young professionals freshly graduated.

As part of the GenZ, they have been raised surrounded by the digital environment.

As they have little experience and network, they like to look for easy-to-watch videos and content to build their knowledge in their field. They also tend to change companies and industries very often, therefore they rely a lot on online info to learn new knowledge.

Douyin (TikTok) allows them to do them.

More and more local companies favor this channel to communicate and attract these young buyers, sharing them easy to watch valuable videos with experts’ tips and knowledge, helping them to better understand the industry, the products, and solutions.

Magic power of Video to sensitive Future Buyers


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