China Law Blog wrote today that WOFE’s in China cannot do research. Note his post here. (he notes Wofe’s often do and at their own risk which appears to be small) My company is owned by my dear Chinese wife and so explicitly allowed to do market research in China, but regardless of your registration, why do market research in China?
The basic answer is you are not in Kansas anymore.
There are an unimaginable number of places you can get burned when you cross cultures. Legal issues are a small compared to higher risks of offending your potential customers or boring them.
Why do market research in China?
Just think about what your product will be called in China as a small example. You can get some Chinese people together and ask. That is good, but how much is a good name worth to you. You might want to reach higher.
Who are your customers? What do they feel they need and what do they actually need and how do they want it are all going to look different than in Kansas. Some products you need to sell at a higher price to get them to sell. That would be good to know. Even people who live in China like me do not dare say how a Western product or service will be received here without research.
We highly recommend not shooting in the dark. Do your market research in china.