Editor’s note: Grace Ueng is CEO of Savvy Marketing Group, a consultancy that takes emerging growth companies to the next level and also launches new ventures within the Fortune 500. Savvy’s China Practice propels U.S. companies into China as well as Chinese companies into U.S. and South America markets. Vivienne Zhang and Diemmi Pham also contributed to this article.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Beijing’s One-Child Policy of 1979 was largely successful and reduced population growth in a 1.3 billion people population by as much as 23 percent. But this reduction came with a price; beginning in 2015, China’s aging population will be faced with demographic problems of a shrinking pool of young workers having to support a growing number of older citizens. Most factories are located in the coastal region with nearly all the workers under age 25. But China’s aging work force is one of Chinese leaders’ biggest fears; the nation will grow old before it grows rich.
To avoid this, China is trying to grow its economy as fast as possible. It has enacted several policies to make this growth possible and many American and European companies have taken notice. China has been able to attract significant capital investment and turned profits.
To take advantage of the growing opportunities in China, check out the top six emerging entrepreneurial trends that Savvy’s China Practice has identified.
1. Alternative energy: This is the top area where money is being invested. For years, China has been the leading country creating innovative clean technology. They are the biggest solar panel producing country in the world. Chinese clean energy start-ups have been targeted by many Silicon Valley venture capital firms, and the Chinese government acts as a clean tech venture fund.
2. Food and beverage: The food and beverage industry has grown into the 3rd largest sector in China, reaching $275B in 2010. Food and beverage industry has also been a hot target for private equity investments, especially chain stores and frozen food supply chain management.
3. Customized product and luxury goods: China ranks as the No. 2 country in purchasing luxury consumer goods. They will account for $27B in global luxury goods in 2015, 20% of the world’s luxury goods market.
4. Agriculture – chicken and organic: Goldman Sachs has invested in poultry farms in 2008 and Tyson Foods has stated that their joint venture in China as a key priority. Organic is and will be a rising trend in China. China is second worldwide in the amount of land under organic management. There are also many local governments offering monetary support through training programs and subsidies such as discounts for organic fertilizer.
5. Professional social network: Entertainment social networks such as Kaixin (Chinese Facebook), Weibo (Chinese Twitter), and Renren/Xiaonei (for students) have experienced fast growth and now have leveled off. Professional social networks as mature as LinkedIn has not taken off in China yet. Chinese professionals do not separate social, family, and work; as a result, professionals typically need to make a “personal connection” before developing business relationships.
This will be a huge area of opportunity as China’s professional social network marketing is several years behind the U.S. market, and talent acquisition in China is now and will continue to b a big issue for Fortune 500 companies. Professional social networks are a crucial instrument for headhunters as middle to high level managers are always in shortage.
6. Marriage match/Online dating website: About 50 percent of China’s internet users are between 24 and 40 years old. Online dating services are taking off and the market is estimated at $800 million. More than 24 million Chinese men could find themselves without a partner by 2020 due to the skewed gender balance in China’s demographic.
(C) Savvy Marketing Group