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The Beauty of China’s Smaller Cities for Foreign Brands Starting out in China.

Jiangsu a smaller province in China is not just beautiful but attractive economically for foreign brands

Back in June last year, 2020, we published this brief article pointing out the advances of some of China’s lower tier cities for foreign brands starting out in China. Since the data we relied on last year has changed, and subsequently the way Chinese cities are now ranked, we’re reprinting here today as a lead into our Weekend Long read this Friday which deals with the same subject.

There has been a lot written and said over the years, by many respectable publications regarding the advantages for foreign brands of considering smaller or “lower tier” cities as their entry location. The term lower or 2nd, 3rd, 4th level etc is unfortunate as this oft conjures up a negative, stereotypical image turning potential businesses away.

This is sad” says Bicyu’s Peter Bic- “I have spent a lot of time in Jiangsu and Southern China provinces and am always impressed by the busy, bustling nature of their industries, lifestyle and the standard of living”

Many foreign brands already established here, including Bicyu, also caution newcomers about looking only in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou. The old British proverb; “All that glistens is not gold” hold very true here. There are numerous advantages to China’s smaller cites, lower rents and salaries whilst obvious, are not the only ones. Often, China’s smaller cities perform extremely well economically.

On June 4 Yicai ranked on the top 20 economically strongest counties in China according their 2019 GDP. It found that among the top 20 strongest counties by GDP, eight are in Jiangsu, five in Zhejiang. Four out of five of the 20 are in coastal China.

Jiangsu and Zhejiang benefit from better geographic conditions, convenient transportation and good development foundation. In addition, they have a stronger commercial atmosphere, more liberal outlook and timely grasp of opportunities in the country’s reform and opening-up.

Tian Boping, researcher at Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Science

The People’s Daily produced a montage of images depicting the top 10 Chinese counties for 2019. It will be interesting to see how they stack up end of 2020. Our money says probably pretty well. You can view and learn a little more here.

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Introducing Everlyne YU


In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.

She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.

Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne

I love to talk about and help people understand the amazing ways MarTech and SaaS can work to strengthen your business engagement with Chinese consumers.
I know you have questions or want to talk about your brand or business in China so please, drop me a line opposite. If you prefer live chat, call and talk to me live, in person direct.


Everlyne is also a key note speaker, lecturer and KOL on MarTech in China. She is CEO of Uengager, business development officer for Bicyu.

Everlyne hs been privileged to work with a variety of international organisations, from VW, Cushman Wakefield, Sodexo, Bristol Myers Squibb to local Chinese firms such as Midea, and OK Order.

If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.

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A selection of Bicyu clients since 2003


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