Under the “One Belt and One Road” initiative, Turkey has become an ideal destination for Chinese enterprises to “go global”. Over the past 10 years, Turkey, which connects East and West China, has grown into the 13th largest economy in the world and the largest economy in the Middle East. At the China Brand Strategy Development Forum hosted by Nielsen, a global market measurment company, Meng Xiaosu, the vice president of China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporation (CICPMC), pointed out that the domestic economic development path in Turkey is similar in China. The similar industrial technology level, the connection in business and culture, in line with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, lead to that Turkey is one of the ideal destinations for Chinese companies to “go global”.
Large growth potential
The vitality is based on Turkey’s younger demographic structure and the rapid economic growth rate. The population of Turkey in 2008 was 80.8 million, of which the population under the age of 24 accounted for 41%, and the average national population of Turkey was 31 years old. Such a young population structure determines that society as a whole is looking forward to innovation and digitization. In the Nielsen survey, 70% of Turkish consumers are willing to try new products.
Didem said that in 2017, Turkey’s economy achieved a growth rate of 7.4%, and its GDP ranking rose from the 17th to the 13th in the world. However, Turkey believes that its own economic growth still has potential and set a GDP of 2023. The total volume has reached the top ten global targets.
The change is even more revolutionary. Didem said that Turkey, driven by a high proportion of young people and rapid economic growth, is undergoing changes in all fields, including both structural adjustment and continuous creation of new models.
Choosing Nielsen’s research in the consumer sector, for example, Didem said that in 10 years, the number of shops in Turkey has surged, pushing the total retail social retail sales in 2017 to reach US$40 billion. The sales of FMCG products has increased from 61% to 71% in 10 years. In terms of consumption patterns, Turkish consumers have changed their habits of bulk purchases in large quantities, and have begun to favor small-item purchases. At the same time, in terms of shops, the cash collection model is increasingly being replaced by the POS credit card mode.
Outside of the consumer sector, some new changes have taken place in the Turkish lifestyle. Didem said that the penetration rate of the Internet in Turkey has continued to increase. At present, it has reached 67%. The national average time for surfing the Internet is 7 hours, and the penetration of smartphone users is 73%. More and more Turks like to share lifes on social media. The change in this digital pattern of behavior directly gave birth to the development of the Turkish mobile game market. In 2016, the number of Turkish mobile game players reached 24 million and the market size was 220 million U.S. dollars.
There are many opportunities everywhere
Change means opportunity. Didem said that when Chinese companies promote cooperation with Turkey under the “one Belt, one Road”, they can not only emphasise infrastructure construction and cooperation in the field of telecommunications, they may also pay attention to cooperation in the fast-food industry and e-commerce.
In the area of Turkish FMCG products, personal care products, food and beverages, and perfumes and other beauty products can be focused. The average sales growth of beauty products such as food and beverages and perfumes can reach 15% and 32% respectively. Turkish consumers are very willing to try new products. According to Nielsen’s survey, 7 out of 10 Turkish consumers are willing to try new products. Of the 14% sales growth achieved by the FMCG industry in 2017, 9% came from the contribution of new sales.
For Chinese companies that are interested in entering the fast-moving consumer goods industry in Turkey, the following recommendations are made by the company based on its product positioning: Products should be healthy, and the product purchase channels must be convenient. The product positioning should be based on high-end products and ensure the product’s senses and feelings are excellent. Compliance with local laws, regulations, and ethics in Turkey, it can highlight localisation based on the characters of the product.
For the cooperation in the field of e-commerce, Didem stated that Turkey hopes to learn from China’s development experience in this area. At present, Turkish consumers already have experience in shopping via the Internet. They are only subject to factors such as the number of online products and the degree of domestic logistics development. Shopping habits have not yet been developed. However, Chinese companies are very good at related fields. China’s consumer goods manufacturers and logistics companies can fully consider taking this opportunity to enter the Turkish market.