How Can Language Solutions Help International Start-ups Enter in China?

Tomer Yehezkeli, Founder of Limpid Translations
Launching a business overseas can be both exciting and overwhelming.

From concepts to concrete solutions, the process itself, until you get the results, includes failures and successes, making the journey all the more fulfilling.

However, if you’re planning to enter the China markets, you need a new mindset on how to engage with the 1.4 billion population, of which 802 million people, as of this writing, are already connected to the internet, and 98% of them use mobile devices in consuming online content.

Are you the one percent?

In an interview with CNBC, Oscar Ramos, Program Director at Chinaccelerator, an accelerator that helps connect startups across China’s borders said, “Ninety-nine percent of companies who want to access China as a foreign company, shouldn’t.”

The remaining one percent may have a chance, but also, they need to ask themselves what their unique selling proposition is or what makes them better than the Chinese-owned companies.

But interestingly, the opportunities are here.

Several industries are growing, but they lack the expertise in health care, education, fashion, and food. According to Ramos, if you’re in these industries, being a foreign brand in China is an asset.

These barriers may be stopping you, so what to do?

In his thought-piece about the top 10 barriers to international expansion, Co-founder and CEO of BP3, President of the Board of the Magellan International School, including the people, language, and communication especially when moving to another country.

Regulations, taxes, data management, and privacy policies, and hiring staff, plus the diversity in the culture are some of the things that may also hinder you to expand.

Follow your customers: you never stop wooing them

In this post, we would like to focus more on these barriers: people, language, and communication to help you assess your situation and establish your brand(s) in China whereas of this writing, foreign companies invest more for new opportunities.

But one thing’s for sure, although everyone’s familiar with the Silicon Valley mantra, “Fail fast,” it may also serve as a warning that this may not work all the time in different countries such as China. International start-ups must not expect an overnight success once they expand here.

Even deep-pocketed companies still do plan ahead and embrace language solutions and adapt to the culture, following their customers internationally with a different mindset.

Once they found their customers, they do their best to pursue them consistently.

Localization and playing the field the “Chinese Way”

Clash of Clans and Clash Royale of Finland-based Supercell became successful because the company embraced localization strategies—from the design of the games, and even payment methods—until Tencent bought the company in 2016 at $8.6 billion USD.

Fruit Ninja is also another startup that reached a milestone in the gaming market where it integrated the game into WeChat and made it more social for the users turned into players. The game had a centralized competition system where WeChat buddies who play it had leaderboards of the player’s score and share power-ups.

LinkedIn, the professional social networking platform in the west, launched a beta version in 2014 with a Chinese name, Lingyin (领英). LinkedIn localized the platform to suit the Chinese market and needs when hiring and connecting with people, hired a local team who understood the market and knew how to integrate the social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo for cross-platform sharing. What’s more, the company was compliant to internet rules by storing its data in local servers.

How can you capitalize language solutions without being too pushy or aggressive?

These international startups have one thing in common: they adapted to the culture and invest in language solutions.

Translation involves the language itself – the words and content to be worked on, either in Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese.

Localization adds a human element, adding a cultural touch to the whole brand or system to make it relevant to the audience.

#1 Establishing your brand in China via website translation


One of the most effective ways to enter the China market without being too aggressive is launching a Chinese website and showcasing your brand like how Merci, Keter, and Nilit Ltd. did it when they collaborated with us on how to make their site suitable for the customers.

#2 Engaging with promotional videos and voice-overs in Chinese

Hazera Genetics is in the agriculture sector and took advantage of videos to promote its business to its Chinese counterparts. If you’re in a B2B set-up, chances are, you can use videos to amplify your message via voice-overs or dubbing—production of audio and video files, which are recorded in our studio.

For government and non-profit organizations, the Shanghai Expos video from Israeli Pavilion is one of our projects as well for subtitling and voice-over.

Startups and entrepreneurs can also take advantage of the videos in Chinese especially when attending conferences or networking events, just like how Mr. Shahar Peled of ArTack Medical'who introduce his company in Chinese; his video was played during the China Israel Innovation Summit which was held in Haifa City in front of hundreds of visitors and investors from China. We worked on the translation and voice-over production, resulting in more opportunities after the summit.

#3 Teaching your consumers about your services via Chinese videos

Some of the agricultural companies we’ve worked with are using videos to teach their consumers about the services they offer. Whether you are a for-profit or non-profit organization, your advocacy can be translated into Chinese and help them understand what you’re doing.

For example, Amaiad Signa educates its customers in China on how its product works—the water system and the bits and pieces of the entire product.

Adir Winery, on the other hand, although the voice-over is in English, we worked on the subtitles in Simplified Chinese, which displayed in the winery visitor center in Israel.

Compostor’s voice over video discusses how the water recycling facilities work with an introduction of what the company does and the product works.

What’s your action plan?

Your next step could also be similar with these startups – whether you want to invest in a well-professionally translated website or a promotional video dubbed in Mandarin – everything depends on which stage of your business are you in right now and your long-term goals if you are serious in tapping this huge market.

Limpid provides Chinese language and Internet services. We are offering a variety of services mainly for companies  entering the Chinese market or already doing business in China. Our services cover the following areas: 
Professional Chinese translations, Web & Mobile design for the Chinese market, China On-line marketing And Video Voice-over. 
For more information check our website: www.limpid-

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