Jeffrey, you are our keynote speaker at LocWorld in Shenzhen. How would you like to introduce yourself to our audience?

I’m a professor at Beijing University, and an expert on how Chinese consumers and competitors are disrupting global markets. I don’t know foreign policy, I don’t know politics, but I know that the entire Asian market is seriously changed by the Chinese consumers. The Chinese consumers are probably the biggest economic phenomenon in this part of the world. And investment money seems to follow where the consumers spends theirs.


This is a conference for localization experts. What will you share with our audience?

I will talk about how Asia will look like in 2025, which is only seven years away. Looking back seven years, no one even talked about this. The question is, are you, and the world, prepared for dramatic change, with all the opportunities and threats that will entail? You will have well over 100 million Chinese consumers going across the region. Already 50% of the tourism in Asia is Chinese.


What role has language had in this success story of the Chinese disruption of global markets? Do you see a correlation between the success rate and language?

It depends on the industry. Language becomes a big deal in buying real estate, for example, because you need an intermediary who speaks the same language — you need a broker. But then, at the same time, the language doesn’t really matter for the real estate purchase itself because, ultimately, a building is a building. If you go into more of an operating company, a tourism event, then not only do you have to integrate language into the broker aspect, you have to integrate it into the whole service. For business to business it would be different. In most businesses in Southeast Asia, you’re going to have to understand Chinese.


So, bringing this back to the translation industry, I’m guessing that translation into Chinese is a key success factor?

It’s not sufficient but it’s necessary. I mean, that’s just a given. Speaking Chinese in Asia is almost a requirement.


What can we learn from Chinese success?

There’s a great example of an Australian vitamin company called Swiss Vitamin, a smallish company with a couple hundred million dollars in revenue. And their sales about a year ago just started going through the roof because it turns out Chinese consumers rank them highly. The management had nothing to do with this. I don’t even think they knew about it, they just turned around and their sales started surging. It turns out that Chinese consumers had got interested in them and their sales doubled within under six months. The interesting part was the management didn’t have anything to do with it. It happened without them. Then, they caught on. “Look, it turns out consumers in China are really buying our stuff,” and then a Chinese company bought them up pretty quick.

We should keep in mind that if Chinese consumers get their eyes on you and your product, it will most likely have a huge impact on your business — so we’d better be prepared.


Thank you, Jeffrey. We are looking forward to learning more from your insights at your keynote speech, at 10:30 am on March 1 at #LocWorld33.

同声传译 – Simultaneous Interpretation