Understand China well before you enter!

Though entering the Chinese market is still not easy, thanks to multiple institutions and companies that have been established over the past few years, it has become significantly easier. However, not everyone abroad is aware of where to find help. Of the thousands of SMEs looking to tap the Chinese market, only 27 percent are aware that support services like the EU SME Centre exist, while only 7 percent have actually used these services.
One of the recent practical seminars organized by the EU SME Centre concerning the Food and Beverage industry in China, which took place from 6 – 10 November in Beijing.

During the five-day seminar, experts from various industries shared insights on the Chinese food and beverage industry. Rafael Jimenez Buendia from the EU SME Centre gave tips for selling food and beverage products in Mainland China and emphasized the importance of knowing import regulations, as well as picking the right entry model, which for each entrant will depend on strategy, sales channels, budget, expectations, competition, and consumers.

Miriam Baumgart from ECOVIS Beijing focused on the legal aspects of import procedures and barriers, as well as provided a good overview of market entry and distribution.

Last but not least, the third seminar was given by Bjørn Hembre, the General Manager and Founder of Branditat. His experience and passion for digital marketing in China enabled him to share insights on the unique Chinese digital environment. He also offered tips on targeting and reaching out to the right audience by creating the most suitable marketing strategy.

Each day concluded with a case study on various F&B businesses and shared practical experiences from the Chinese F&B industry.

Linearis Translations provided translation services throughout the event to assure that all delegates got the most out of the conference and nothing was lost in translation.

Here are a few options for finding help when entering China:

EU SME Centre is a European Union initiative that provides a comprehensive range of hands-on support services to European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), getting them ready to do business in China.

ECOVIS Beijing is a tax and legal firm that offers assistance with business set-up, accounting, tax, auditing and legal advisory in China.

Branditat is an agency that helps companies and organizations navigate the cultural contexts, optimizing their brand by designing future-proof products and strategies.

Linearis Translations provides professional translation, interpreting and localization services, including trademark translation and registration in China.

Sprīdītis travels to China!

Along with steady increase in trade and investment between Central Eastern Europe and China, Chinese government is also emphasizing to increase cooperation in the fields of education and culture.

In October 2016 theater studio “Zīļuks” of Children and Youth Centre “Rīgas Skolēnu pils” (Riga, Latvia) received an invitation from The Arts Committee of the 2017 China-CEEC Cultural Season to perform their play “Sprīdītis” in China

Every year the most striking arts representatives from various Central and Eastern European countries are selected for participation in this international festival; therefore, it is a great honour for Zīļuks to travel to China in order to introduce the audience with the play Sprīdītis.

Sprīdītis was written in 1904 by a famous Latvian author Anna Brigadere. It is a story about a small boy who is struggling to live with his stepmother, therefore leaves his home to find happiness. He meets mythical and strange characters along the way, some that help him overcome life struggles and some of them need to be defeated.

“We will go to China with the play “Sprīdītis” by Anna Brigadere. Due to the successful visual and drama solution, the play is one of the most demanded plays in Latvia and international festivals; moreover, it has been specifically adapted to open-air stage specifications. “Sprīdītis” as performed by “Zīļuks” can be easily transformed; as decorations are used not large-scale structures but large puppets – masks, which make the play dynamic, mobile, and thus can capture the child’s attention. Yet currently, when preparing for the trip, the large masks provide also one of the largest challenges. They exceed any permitted limits for transportation. Therefore, our designers have a special task to decrease the size of the masks by creating new foldable structures. Since renewal of the play in 2003, this play has constantly been a part of the active repertoir of the theatre and has been performed more than 110 times; and the group of actors who have grown up has been changed 8 times.

“Sprīdītis” performed by Zīļuks has received countless festival awards, has been nominated for a successful work of educators, visual expressiveness and harmonised work of the creative team at Riga Amateur Theatre Festival “Riga Plays Theatre 2004”; it has been nominated for ability to bring the text to life and thoughtfully performed staging at the “Festival International de Theatre Jeunes d’Enfants et de Theatre Jeunes 2006” in Toulouse, France; it has received the festival award and has been nominated for the scope of theatrical new findings and wealth of creative individuality in X International Children’s’ Theatre Festival “Brancevskij Festival” in 2009 in Saint Petersburg, Russia; it has performed as a special guest among the professional puppet theatres in the 23rd International Theatre Festival for Children in Subotica, Serbia, in 2016.

In order to make the play more perceptible to the Chinese spectators, we understood that translation of the play’s text and songs in Chinese was necessary. “In Facebook I placed a message that we are looking for someone who could translate the text appropriately, and soon we received a message from the translation bureau Linearis“, said Zane Goiževska, the project director of “Zīļuks”.

Kārlis Ozols, Marketing and Sales Manager at Linearis acknowledged that Sprīdītis has long been used as designation of people who leave their country in search of better luck. “Linearis can also be viewed as Sprīdītis, because seven years ago we made a daring decision to search for our luck in a rather exotic market of China. Currently already two branches have been opened, many major customers have been found, and we have helped other Baltic companies to enter this market. Thus, we believe it to be our matter of honour to support a visit of Rīga Skolēnu pils teātris “Zīļuks” in China by providing translations of play’s text and songs into Chinese without asking for remuneration.”

We welcome you to see Sprīdītis performed in China in these venues:

1/10/2017 Garden Expo Park, Fengtai District, Beijing

2/10/2017 Garden Expo Park, Fengtai District, Beijing


Representing Baltic FMCG companies in Anufood Expo 2017 (China)

In the past few years, China’s economy has been expanding at a rapid pace, having a huge impact on the Chinese society itself. Following this general trend, the food and beverage market in China has also experienced a significant grow the past few years. After several incidents of safety issues of Chinese-produced food and beverages, and supported by the income increase of the population in first and second-tier cities, Chinese consumers turn to imported products for their quality, uniqueness and safety. A 2016 study suggests that 86 % of Chinese customers consider food safety when buying food, while 52 % say they would give top consideration to food safety when buying food.

That, of course, is a great opportunity for European, and especially, Baltic products, which are praised by Chinese consumers for their exquisite taste and health benefits. This is the reason why Linearis subsidiary Linearis IBC participated in Beijing’s Anufood Expo 2017, one of the biggest of its kind in Mainland China. In the exhibition, Linearis represented Lithuanian and Latvian food and beverage companies, and assisted in finding suitable importers and distributers. The companies represented were:

As Linearis Country Manager in China Agnese Sturmane admits, during the three-day event, a lot of importers, distributers and retailers approached us asking about the products, and showed genuine interest about Baltic products. It is needless to say that even though most importers have a lot of experience with European products, they can’t communicate in any language other than Mandarin Chinese. The need for communication was cared for by our Beijing team, as all staff present at our collective booth are fluent in Chinese, have knowledge on the products demonstrated and are familiar with China’s import process and legislation. All in all, the exhibition was a success, leading to numerous products finding a way into the Chinese food and beverage market.

Linearis — your best partner in discovering new export markets.

Participation at China International (Guangzhou) Fishery & Seafood Expo

On 25-27 August, China International Fishery & Seafood Expo took place in Guangzhou, China. This is the most important exhibition in the region which is aimed at specialists representing food processing, aquaculture, fishery, storage and transportation fields. This annual exhibition traditionally brings together leading entrepreneurs of related fields not only from China, but also from around the globe.

We are proud to say that this year Baltic entrepreneurs also had a stand in the exhibition represented by the Latvian National Fisheries Producers’ Organisation (NFPO). As indicated by Viesturs Ūlis, Project Manager of the Organisation, this was one of the first exhibitions in China for which NFPO ensured the participation of its own members, i.e., fishing companies. The aim of the participation was to network with local businesses that would allow Latvian fishing companies to directly launch their products in international markets without any intermediaries. Currently, the most important task is to address the transport issue in product delivery process because, considering the great distance, the fishermen would have to think of how to optimise transport costs by facilitating freight flow in both directions. Another issue to be solved is the provision of necessary product amount throughout the year. We are thankful to Linearis for providing Chinese interpreter. The majority of Chinese interested in our products do not speak English. The interpreter not only interpreted the conversation, but also talked about fishery products and explained processes related to product processing. In the future, NFPO plans to participate in similar exhibitions where they will definitely choose Linearis to provide interpreting services.

NFPO was established in 2004 and its goal is to improve conditions in fish trade for its members and stabilise prices, improve offer concentration, develop catch plan and programmes. The Organisation helps its members in modernising their equipment and improving their operation as well as controls the fishing operations carried out by the Organisation’s members, regulates their catch quote and implements other measures that are important for fishermen. Linearis with two offices in China not only provides excellent translations, but also has helped the Baltic companies to enter the Chinese market for over 6 years.

While tapping into the Chinese market is a dream for many SMEs all over the globe, it can also be a struggle: the case of Ilgezeem

China is one of the world’s most attractive markets: it has 1.3 billion potential consumers with growing disposable income and a mentality for consumption. At the same time, being such a great catch for companies, severe competition among SMEs and corporations is unavoidable to gain even a fraction of this market.

A good way to test the Chinese market is to attend an exhibition to explore the market potential and to gain an understanding of some potential competitors.

Being a translation company, we often help companies overcome some of these struggles along the way.

This is a story of one of our clients, the Ilgezeem brewery, which produces a unique Latvian beer called Tanheiser. Ilgezeem’s history begins in 1863, when it was built by the Germans. Today, the brewery’s products continue to have a following in Latvia; with a stable market position, it is only logical that the company seek out export opportunities. Tanheiser is not just a beer, however; it is rather a fusion of beer, juice, a cocktail, cider and wine. As such, it is hard to classify it as any one of countless existing beverages. The best way to understand it is to try it for yourself. It is a honey beer that comes in six different flavours: original, ginger and cannabis, apple, black currant, cranberry and cherry. For the health-conscious or those who prefer to remain sober, the company has also released an alcohol-free collection that is produced in five flavours: dark, honey, ginger, cranberry and black currant. The secret to the unique taste is the malt extract that the brewery has been producing since the 19th century.

As one of the market leaders in Latvia, the Ilgezeem brewery is ready go global this year; therefore, they are taking part in 11 exhibitions around the world. So far, they have been exporting mostly to Europe – Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland – but have recently added new export markets like South Korea and Dubai. Linearis Translations has been a one-stop solution for the brewery by providing translation services in various languages and interpreting services for exhibitions in Barcelona, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Using local languages eases communication with potential importers and distributors, and it often speeds things up for business. It is particularly important in China for the following reasons:

  • Many people speak only Mandarin;
  • Business communication is different – WeChat, QQ;
  • Using local customs, etiquette and language can earn greater trust, establish better understanding and potentially provide a better basis for cooperation.

Moreover, each market is extremely different, and China is no exception. Many foreigners living in China have noticed that some products imported from abroad taste different there. It is not that the products are fake, but they have been adapted to Chinese consumers, e.g., Oreo cookies have less added sugar because the Chinese prefer products that are not as sweet as they often are in Europe. Packaging is also often different. While we prefer buying 1 L or 2 L packages of milk in Europe, it is more common to purchase 200 ml of milk in China, which is easy to drink on the go and does not need to be stored in a refrigerator. All these things need to be taken into account if one wishes to be successful in the Chinese market. What might work back home might not work in China. Since China is so far from Europe and it takes 45-50 days for products to ship from Latvia to China, one of the most common first questions from importers is about shelf life, with 12 months being the typical minimum requirement for most of importers. The longer the better.

Tanheiser beer received great reviews at the HOFEX 2017 (Hong Kong) and SIAL 2017 (Shanghai) exhibitions. Many were surprised by the unique taste, and the booth was always filled with curious visitors. Many importers and distributors showed their interest in these products, which makes us hopeful that these drinks will also soon be available all over China. Their long shelf life, reasonable price and unique taste are some of the main reasons why they could successfully enter the Chinese market.

For more information about this unique beer from Latvia, please visit:


For potential importers, please contact Ms Zane Tjurina, Export Manager:


For assistance with your entry into the Chinese market, feel free to contact Linearis IBC (part of Linearis Group):