“All things are difficult before they are easy” Chinese proverb

“All things are difficult before they are easy” Chinese proverb

This last week I’ve been in China on an out of home, foodservice market research project.


I started in the South in Guangzhou before heading North to Hangzhou, where the G20 meeting was held this year and then across to Shanghai.

Market research in foodservice is a little more challenging than retail, especially when one is trying to find out what brands and product formats are commonly used; most operators do not openly display or advertise their suppliers. Nonetheless with the support of two experienced associates we wove a pave through a myriad of outlets and combined with some clever questioning we were able to gather a wealth of knowledge.

I learnt a lot and our client even more. 

I am always surprised by how fast China changes. It was over 20 years ago that I first visited and the speed of development is breath taking. In foodservice I learnt that many outlets last a maximum of 2 or 3 years before closing and a new alternative sprouts up. I can see why many foreign companies are finding China increasingly difficult as their speed of response is just not fast enough.

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