“In such a global community as ours, the opportunity to meet and network with magnetic resonance scientists, imaging researchers, all manner of instrument users, customers and professionals from all over the world, is highly prized and very beneficial. Sharing insights from diverse fields is unmistakeably invaluable, but often we never get a window on how working in different countries may be work in comparison to our own.”
theresonance is launching a series of “Getting to Know” articles, which we hope will shed some interesting and informative light on what it’s like to work in other countries that are possibly very different to our own.
Who better to open a window on country-specific insights than our very own colleagues based in our regional offices. For our first ‘Getting to Know’ article we have taken some time aside to talk with Dong Jiang, who is our Marketing Specialist covering China and other Asian countries.
Dong works with directly with Chinese agencies and distributors, and colleagues across the Bruker offices in China, and is responsible for both offline and online marketing, including organizing our presence at tradeshows, online adverts, and social media, so maybe some of you have already met her!
Let’s get to know a little about China.
How is Bruker set up to support China?
I am based in the Beijing office, which is the largest office. Sales, marketing, services and applications activities are split between here and Shanghai. We also have a new office in Guangdong, which opened just last year – they provide additional service and sales support.
Are there any challenges in bringing Bruker’s vision and Bruker’s instruments to China?
There are some challenges, I think every company has challenges – but plenty of opportunities exist as well. China is a big country, and there are many opportunities for Bruker to grow and expand in this region.
What about the language barrier – has that presented any problems?
Not as much as people might think. In China, I think most people are good at understanding English. Until recently, a lot of product brochures and product information, and software interfaces, etc., were all English.
So Chinese people, especially in universities and in the scientific community, have become used to this, and are quite happy to see product videos or product brochures in English. Scientists all over the world speak English together, so people are used to speaking English because of that as well.
In fact, sometimes when companies produce local versions of brochures, emails, or other marketing materials, the translations are not very good! Usually it is less confusing just to have things written in English – we do prefer it, and that removes most of the language barrier.
Are there any other cultural factors which affect how foreign companies need to present themselves?
I don’t think so – again, people in China are used to dealing with non-Chinese companies, and they are happy to see product information in English. We have had to adapt, and deal with foreign companies for so long, that now everyone is just used to it. I don’t think Chinese culture really affects business or trade in that way.
If there are problems with the language barrier or cultural differences, I think it applies mostly to normal consumer products. With high-tech instrument companies like Bruker, the customers are scientists, engineers, and universities – and they are very good at English, and very comfortable dealing with international companies.
The Chinese market has had a lot of attention in general over the last few years, because of its size and how fast it is growing. Is the scientific instrument market reflecting this, and is there room for more growth for companies like Bruker?
China is a very big market, and it is playing a very important economic role in the world. There has been a lot of investment in the Chinese market over the last few years, but I think there is still plenty of room for growth and expansion in the scientific sector.
Because of all the interest and investment in China, the scientific community feels much more linked to the international community than it once did. Trade shows and conferences in China are some of the most important in the world, not just for people from China.
How does digital marketing differ in China? Obviously there are quite a few differences between the internet in Western countries and the Chinese internet.
Yes, there are a lot of differences – mainly in social media, because we have our own social media platforms which are almost completely specific to China, like WeChat and QQ.
We have just recently launched a WeChat (known as Weixin in Chinese) account for Bruker China – this is quite a new thing, as the Chinese social networks are almost exclusively used for personal networks of friends and family, rather than as professional networks like LinkedIn or even Twitter.
Some businesses are now starting to promote themselves on WeChat, and are offering incentives for people who subscribe. This works well for hotels and restaurants but, of course, Bruker wants to find an approach to best suit Bruker China’s customer base and provide a channel of useful information and engaging content.
We already have quite a few followers, despite the account not being live for very long, so we are looking forward to seeing how successful this initiative will be.
You recently ran a User Meeting – what did this involve, and how was the response from the attendees?
Yes, we had our annual Bruker China User Meeting on July 15th – and more than 100 users came to share their knowledge and experience of using Bruker technology. Representatives from Bruker also came to introduce the latest news about our product lines directly to the users.
For the users, the meetings are a great opportunity to speak to other people and share experiences, which ordinarily they don’t have much chance to do. Our customers are spread all over the country in different cities, and it is difficult for them to get together to just talk about issues and share techniques – and to develop their personal relationships as well.
The users really enjoy this opportunity, and it is nice for us to be able to provide a venue for such conversation. From Bruker’s point of view, it is also really valuable to be able to present our new products directly to the users.
At a tradeshow, there will be many people there to see the new products, but at the User Meetings we know that the people there will all be interested in what we have to say. This is also good for the users – they are pleased to see the new developments and to have the chance to ask questions directly to the sales team, to develop their relationship with us as well as with each other.
So overall the User Meetings are very important to us, and we are very happy with how this year’s event went.