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How to Pick the Right Business Partners with Matthew McKenzie, The Export Group

In this #QuriousChina episode, I got to speak to Matthew McKenzie, co-founder of the Export Group, and gain his view on #trading with #China.

Matthew has been exporting to China since 2001 and during that time has participated in the growth and opportunities that have become available in China. This led to him moving to China permanently 4 years ago and now the company he co-founded has four offices across Australia and China. Matthew has led the growth of famous Australian brands such as Weet-Bix and Morning Fresh from infancy through to category leadership across a number of sales channels. We discussed the strategy behind the Weet-Bix success and whether #SME can take a leaf out of its book.

Matthew is passionate about the opportunities that a fully digitised China offers international brands both in terms of marketing and sales, and we examined how to position a brand with different channels and how Matthew and his team adapted to the exponential change with the rise in Chinese social media.

I also picked Matthew's brains on how to pick the right business partners, what homework a #SME needs to do before exporting.

Matthew is based in Shanghai and travels regularly to meet clients mainly from Australia, the UK and Canada. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and his two sons.

Matthew is happy to be reached out on

Show notes:

1:47 - Intro and Matthew's China Story

3:40 - Biggest change Matthew has experienced since living in China

5:53 - Main duties on the ground

7:25 - Weet-Bix Success Story and its learnings

18:04 - Piloting with the local Chinese diaspora?

19:02 - Pick the right partners in China

21:56 - Is working remotely possible to succeed in China?

23:30 - Is language essential for relationship building with Chinese partners?

25:33 - Gap in perception about doing business with Chinese people

28:25 - Target audience for each category and how it's evolved

30:44 - Online vs offline strategy in different tiered cities

34:45 - Is Social Media a necessity?

38:35 - Different distribution channels offline

40:10 - 3 Common Myths Matthew's experienced doing business in/with China

42:59 - If I wanted to take my business over to China tomorrow, where shall I start? (Matthew's 3 tips on kickstarting your business)

45:30 - Reach out to Matthew and his up and coming trips to Australia

What's mentioned and extended reading:

WeChat Pay - The level of access that WeChat Pay and Alipay has is simply mind-blowing.

Ode to Joy and Weet-Bix Success

For the ad, check out its original video on Youtube here and skip to [20:00] and see how Weet-Bix was seamlessly plugged in.

Bai Jiu - Try it here at Dan Murphy's :) and this article sums it up pretty well

Chang Sha - Known for being closely linked to Chairman Mao's adolescence period

China's commitment on IP protection

A good starting point on protecting your IP

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