Gong Chen and Tobias Bootz have been exploring the Chinese market on behalf of Deutsche Werkstätten since 2017. In their view there is no lack of clients who are willing to invest in high-quality interiors.
There is, however, an important difference. Gong Chen, who was born and raised in China, tries to explain: “Potential clients often have not been exposed to different quality levels. It is rare to find examples of high-quality interiors built to European standards in today’s Chinese market. We have to convince potential clients of the quality Deutsche Werkstätten can offer in terms of craftsmanship, organization and service. German companies are better known in China as suppliers of mechanical and electrical equipment or hardware, or installing the perfect plasterboard, rather than for supplying elegant high-end interiors.”
Of course, there is a lot to learn about cultural differences and different business practices. In China, market participants such as general contractors, designers and suppliers often recommend one another. Companies sometimes offer their clients free work or discounts at the start of a project - the cost of which will invariably need to be off-set later by higher prices elsewhere.
In this context it is not surprising that Deutsche Werkstätten‘s approach, the preparation of a detailed turn-key offer with fixed prices, may be met with scepticism by potential customers. Tobias Bootz has experienced time and again how: "They find it hard to believe us. And that’s why it is so important to convince clients to visit Hellerau and see the production and visit reference projects for themselves".
"They find it hard to believe us. And that’s why it is so important to convince clients to visit Hellerau and see the production and visit reference projects for themselves."