Germany is well-known for their products. The label Made in Germany is an internationally known symbol for high-quality goods. We as a country and people can be proud of such achievements. In a growing global economy this quality is noticed by others: Customers from China are on the rise – highly solvent and financially strong, Chinese like to invest and shop in Europe and especially Germany. But how can a German shop attract Chinese customers?

Service-orientated and friendly businesses win

China is a high-context culture and a very polite society with strong hierarchies: The old saying that the customer is king is here more true than ever. Chinese customers will not say anything if you do something bad or wrong but the will not visit again. It’s best if you are polite, friendly, and helpful.

It’s okay if you do not speak Mandarin or 中文 (Pinyin: Zhong wén) but you should learn some Chinese phrases to show that you at least try.

Assist them with shopping. You can hire special personnel if you frequently have Chinese customers – but your personnel shouldn’t necessarily be Chinese or Asian people. Chinese who are in foreign country like to get some intercultural contacts. If you are from Germany and visit China, you yourself wouldn’t want to be surrounded by other Germans all the time.

Beste practice: 古洛迷亚

The first big obstacle in getting Chinese customers: You need to communicate in their language. The German store chain Galeria Kaufhof did this. In China they are known as 古洛迷亚 (pinyin: Gǔ luò mǐ yà) and are doing pretty well.

Maybe you will encounter this phrase: 古洛迷亚 古洛迷亚 (pinyin: Wǒ xǐhuān gǔ luò mǐ yà).

It means: I like Galeria Kaufhof and is a good sign that you are doing something right in marketing. So, our advice: Get a good translator and cater Chinese customers in Chinese. They are very happy if foreigners try to speak their tongue.

And even if you do not speak Chinese, you can try. Normally, they appreciate this very much.

Long story short: Be open-minded, friendly, and respectful

Regardless of the culture you are born into or are in contact with: How would you like to be treated? There is a lot you can do wrong when dealing with Chinese but keep this in mind: Be friendly to others, keep a bit of distance (it is easier to be more personal later than to take this back), like you would want them to be with you and everything should turn out fine.

Christian Allner
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Christian Allner

Freelancer at
Your guy with a bachelor's degree, a passion for cooking, freelancing social media consultant, organizer of workshops and seminars for social media, Facebook marketing, and so on.

I have a neverending curiosity how things work. I'm involved with Mailbox Germany since 2014. Let us explore this world and its logistics!

Since 2011, I work as Schrift-Architekt, a freelance consultant for social media and for some time now I am an avid German podcaster with #Onlinegeister, radio about internet culture, social media, and PR.
Christian Allner
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