Now is a good time for foreign industrial design firms to consider (or reconsider) their China strategy. The continuing transformation of the economy means that the demand is there, and the timing is good with new favorable government policies. There are few established players, and the size of the market is substantial too.
Chinese companies have often worked with foreign designers, but such services have mainly been provided offshore. The situation appears to be changing and the old model may no longer work. Foreign design firms therefore cannot afford to sit around waiting for business to come to them.
It should be noted that the main motive behind many Chinese manufacturing firms’ overseas M&A, particularly in Europe and North America, is precisely to obtain access to research and design capabilities. If Chinese companies are interested in going abroad to acquire design skills, why can’t Western design firms go to China and sell designs to Chinese clients on their doorstep?