Thanks to technology and social media, the world has indeed become a global village. That means businesses have a larger market to cater to now, resulting in the need for more extensive market research.
Businesses must learn about the market to understand their customers’ needs and preferences. Market research also gives companies insights into competitors, current trends, and product demand. In fact, market research is an industry worth $81.38 billion and growing at a rate of 10.8% per year.
Anyone who has conducted recent market research would know that China offers prime opportunities for foreign investments. The country has a massive market due to its large population.
In recent years, it has become the second largest FDI (foreign direct investments) recipient, getting investments worth $181 billion in 2021.
But what if you cannot research your Chinese target market due to data restrictions? Let’s talk about it.
Data Restrictions in China and Hurdles in Market Research
Recently, China has introduced new laws that make it difficult for companies to conduct market research. The regulations have given more data security rights to the Chinese population, punishing infringement of these rights with penalties and fines.
The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) is a new law that went into effect at the end of 2021. According to this law, Chinese consumers can delete, correct, and access the personal information businesses collect. The law is not limited to Chinese companies alone but also impacts offshore stakeholders.
Companies that break these regulations can be fined as much as RMB 50 million. In some cases, they may have to pay up to 5% of their turnover from the financial year. Compliance has become a necessity, as non-compliant companies will have to suspend their operations in China.
The Chinese policymakers are also working on a three-year plan for the regulation of online predictive algorithms. In the draft of this regulation, policymakers have prohibited the use of any algorithm that encourages online addiction.
Keeping these regulations in mind, foreign businesses that plan to invest in China are in a pickle. It’s difficult, or even impossible, for them to collect consumer data through previously used online channels anymore.
Web Scraping As a Solution
Apart from China’s data restriction laws, businesses also face geo-restriction. Many websites on the Chinese mainland prohibit people from accessing their content from other parts of the world.
What’s the fix? Should businesses simply accept their fate and give up on expanding to China? Well, that won’t be required.
Web scraping is an effective solution in this case. Basically, it’s the process of extracting data from the web. However, web scraping alone won’t benefit businesses, especially with China’s stringent restrictions.
As a business, you’ll need a combination of web scraping and proxies.
Using Proxies for Web Scraping
A proxy is an intermediate between you and the Chinese platform you want to scrape. Let’s say you want to conduct competitor analysis and plan to gather data from Chinese competitors.
A China proxy will act as an intermediary in this process. As a result, the Chinese website will see the request coming from the proxy’s IP rather than yours.
Another benefit of a China proxy is that it will help you bypass geographic blocks. The China proxy will have a Chinese IP address, allowing it to access Chinese websites that only allow local visitors. Some other features of a reliable China proxy include:
- IP Rotation: The China proxy will also come with IP rotation depending on the proxy provider. So, you can send requests from different IPs, minimizing the risk of raising suspicion and getting blocked.
- CAPTCHA Solving: A CAPTCHA will not deter or limit An advanced China proxy. Many proxy server providers offer CAPTCHA-solving services that you can use to access websites hidden behind a CAPTCHA.
Benefits of a China Proxy
China is one of the top three countries with the largest FDA inflows in the world. That should be enough reason for businesses to expand there, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, the local data restrictions deter many investors.
How would you collect data about consumers and businesses in the country? How do you gauge consumer sentiment?
A China proxy can help you do all this. Some benefits of this proxy include:
- Competitor analysis
- Consumer sentiment analysis
- Market research
- Company performance analysis
There’s no limit to what you can find.
It’s quite rare to go to a store and not find a product labeled ”Made in China.” The same is true for online advertisements and TikTok ”finds.”
Considering the country’s growth rate and investments in innovation, there’s no denying that China is one of the most influential countries in the world today. However, the data restriction laws make it difficult for new businesses to move there. With a China proxy, this is no longer a problem.
Such a proxy can help you conduct market research without worrying about getting blocked. Plus, it bypasses geographical restrictions, enabling you to gain valuable insights into the Chinese market.