Networking between Macau and Hong Kong Chinese is key to access by Portuguese to Chinese market

10 April 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 10 April – the network of relationships between the Chinese of Macau, Hong Kong and Portugal may be a route to unblock access by Portuguese companies to the Chinese market, where their presence is as yet “incipient,“ researcher Fernanda Ilhéu has said.

In her book entitled, “A Internacionalização das Empresas Portuguesas e a China” (The Internationalization of ,Portuguese Companies and China) Ilhéu writes that Portuguese businesspeople who currently show “great interest” in the Chinese market should “consider using more westernized gateway markets such as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to overcome the cultural and linguistic gaps,” and also “the network of overseas Chinese,” in Hong Kong, Macau and Portugal.

The secretary-general of Portuguese-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said at the launch of the book on Friday in Lisbon that that network (guangxi) requires “concentrating efforts on one Chinese province,” as it “offers more favorable conditions.”

The book, which is the result of a doctoral thesis from the University of Seville, aimed to identify opportunities and obstacles to the activities of Portuguese companies in the Chinese market.

The aim, Ilhéu told macauhub, was to understand, “why so many companies recognize the importance of the Chinese market, but there are so few working there; why did so many people go on business missions to China, but a year later nothing had happened.”

The study covered 111 companies, from an initial sample of 309, that have been in the Chinese market for over three years, whether in exports or investment, and which are not multinational subsidiaries.

The main conclusions of a survey of managers are that Portuguese companies in China are not fully committed to the market and are mainly focused on sales, via representative offices and, in 72 percent of cases, turnover from China accounts for less than 5 percent of the company’s total.

“If we cannot set up brands in China, we can’t get into the market. We have to have our own points of sale and visibility in the best of them,” Ilhéu told macauhub.

It is also important, she said, for the Portuguese government to provide better support in the entry process, namely by promoting the image of the products and financial schemes, and encouraging “tight cooperation” with companies in defining strategies for moving closer to the market. (macauhub)