China has become a key market for SMEs hoping to make a splash overseas. Even so, China poses a series of challenges, including problems with protection of intellectual property rights and a dizzying web of regulations. But the China IPR Helpdesk, the EU SME Centre and the European Enterprise Network are here to help by bringing the risks – and rewards – of the Chinese market into focus.
While it represents significant opportunities, the Chinese market can also pose daunting challenges for EU SMEs. To that end, China has a track record of not protecting foreign intellectual property rights (IPR), as well as an increasingly complicated legal and administrative framework. These nuances of China can present formidable obstacles to Europe’s would-be SME exporters and investors.
But thanks to the European Commission, EU SMEs have help navigating their way through China, namely with the China IPR SME Helpdesk and the EU SME Centre.
The China IPR SME Helpdesk makes sure that SMEs ‘know before they go’ – that they invest and trade safely, and that they know their IPR rights and risks. This unique, free service provides business-focused advice through its online portal, helpline services, training workshops and published materials.
In October, during DG Enterprise and Industry Director-General Daniel Calleja’s visit to China, the helpdesk started a blog called ‘China IPR insider’, with posts from staff and renowned lawyers on the latest news and challenges of IPR in China. Topics include what to take into account when trying to enforce intellectual property rights in China, as well as dos and don’ts of IP strategy.
Starting in 2013, the Helpdesk will offer seminars, webinars, videos and podcasts on best IPR business practices in China.
But that’s not all. The EU SME Centre also helps European SMEs establish a commercial presence in the Chinese market, particularly at the crucial early stages of their market penetration strategy. It assists with the provision of information, confidential advice and networking events. What’s more, the EU SME Centre facilitates coordination among Member State and European public and private sector service providers to SMEs.
There are also five consortia of the Enterprise Europe Network assisting SMEs in China. They cover central, southeast, northeast, west, and east China.