Breaking China

Are your traditional markets stagnant but you lack the expertise to culturally conquer the East?


Mr Xu had travelled nearly 1000 miles to get to the famous hospitals of Chengdu for treatment for his deteriorating diabetes. Bringing his family and a friend to translate from his Tibetan dialect, he expected to stay a month in a local hostel. He had rolled the dice and gone ‘all in’ on this trip to bring him results. He was not alone. Sitting in the the corridors acting as waiting rooms, hundreds, perhaps thousands queued to be seen. It was then that we realised that Mr Xu had begun to teach us how Chinese healthcare was clearly set on a different rhythm to that of the west.


Problem: When faced with a 2000 year-old incumbent (Traditional Chinese Medicine – TCM) which plays a game designed on a different set of rules to the west, you can appreciate how designing to fit in, whilst standing out, offered a tricky challenge.


Cure: We knew that cultural fit could be best built by a deep understanding of consumers. In such a complex and high risk/high gain market, we set about the coordination of three local agencies with our team to immerse the client deep into everyday life across China.


Result: Engaging 18 hospital networks, across six cities over six months, the team emerged with a deeper understanding of healthcare needs, and critically a roadmap to deliver for the next 10 years. Without commitment to culture, western driven practices and product/engineering design may have simply followed normal routes to failure in the sector. However, instead we revealed a culturally relevant future direction, championed by Chinese stakeholders delighted to see a solution that was not another unsuccessful western wash.


To understand how to design a process to engage the likes of Mr Xu, or how ANATOMY can build an emerging market immersion for you, get in touch.