A surprising number of high-profile Western companies have stumbled in e-commerce in China. In this article, the authors identify four key ways in which U.S. e-commerce companies, including Amazon and Google, proverbially hit the Great Wall when they tried to enter the Chinese market. They offer a list of workable strategies to succeed in Chinese e-commerce gleaned from U.S. Internet companies’ experiences competing in China.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as companies have different objectives and resources in their globalization efforts. However, in a market like China’s, where local knowledge and culture are crucial to success, more thought should be given in the business strategy process to how to better serve local customers and adapt in a rapidly changing market.