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i18n means: to prepare your product for the international market, both technically and culturally


Do you believe that employing a translator (for the foreign language/culture) and fulfilling the foreign technical regulations (laws/standards) is enough in order to deal with a foreign market?

Actually, technical standards are greatly influenced by the cultural habits and the resulting day-to-day life.

Example I: Europe to China

Imagine, you are an European company boss and you want to sell washing machines in China. You figure out that –luckily!– voltage and frequency in China is the same as in Europe (230V, 50Hz). Just the plug is different. So, change the connection cable, translate the instruction manual, and we are done? In China, power failures are quite common. Modern, electronically controlled (“western”) washing machines will re-start their programme (or switch off) after a power failure. Chinese washing machines are operated by electromechanical clockworks, which are not effected by power failures. The missing backup battery (a “device” of 10 pence) in an European washing machine may lead to a quite expensive experience, when your exported expensive washing machines are rejected by the Chinese customers.

Example II: China to Europe

A Chinese medical company developed a drug pump (a syringe pump), a device that “squeezes” a huge syringe slowly so that the medicine is continuously injected into the patient's blood system at an adjustable dose. The machine automatically recognises the size of the inserted syring, adjusts the speed according to the selected dose and the syring. It has a backup battery to bridge an electricity loss. It provides acoustic alarm when the medicine is nearly used up. A self-check and battery refresh program etc. etc.
The whole device is top-class and at the same development level as devices of companies from developed countries, but available at a much cheaper price.
The (Chinese) company boss decides to place it into the European market, he gets the compulsory tests done at the Shanghai branch of the German TÜV to fulfil the European medical regulations. But: After importing the first machines to Europe, it turns out that the drug pump is a flop: few hospitals will buy it, it is rejected by the customers. Why?
The drug pump has a display, and Up / Down and Enter keys. In stand-by and running mode, the display will show the current dose, the battery status as a pictogram, as well as “change dose”, “change volume”, “self-cleaning”, “battery check” menus. These are 6 items in one display—but only one is really important: The current dose. All other should be “hidden” in menus; the European doctors and nurses are used to clear, straightforward information and hierarchical menus, while the Chinese doctors and nurses expect to get all information and possibilities in a quick glance. However, to change the menu of the medical pump is a major change in the machine design—and the expensive testing and certification process has to be done again! If you want to place your product into the European market, the best way is to test it in a small group and to analyse the feedback. DAIBOLA has close contact to European hospitals as well as patient organisations and can protect you from making an expensive experience.

More Examples


intercultural differences between China and Europe
The European customer would be quite confused and maybe would call the technical service, assuming that the new AC is broken!

intercultural differences between China and Europe
Compare these two different website (http://www.boc.cn/ and http://www.deutsche-bank.de/ ) to the traditional market (or bazaar!) in the East and an European shop layout.


We do not say that one way is better than the other. We just say that customers from each region are used to one way or the other.

You should make sure that your products are compatible with the Chinese customs and habits, not only fulfil the technical standards. Contact us for details.

What can DAIBOLA do for you?

DAIBOLA will test your new product with a small group of Chinese test candidates before even starting the obligatory testing. This hands-on testing is fully documented and can be used by your engineers to adopt your product to the Chinese market. We call this: Product Internationalisation.
In the next step, the obligatory, official tests are done inside Europe. There are several testing companies in Europe, thus the competition is higher than in China, and the prices lower. The certification, of course, has the same legal power.
Please contact us to learn more about product internationalisation.

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