A Beijing resident shops at a Tesco supermarket, a UK-based chain that entered the Chinese market in 2004.

Story highlights

China is home to a growing middle class with a big appetite for consumer goods

Western firms looking to tap China should be innovative and flexible, analysts say

They also need to adopt a long-term approach and build a strong local team

Competition, corruption, business etiquette and language are some of the hurdles

London CNN  — 

As western countries remain mired in financial turmoil, business people are looking to get a foothold in China, hoping to tap its growth and expanding middle class.

Solid economic expansion, coupled with a rapid market transformation and a series of government reforms, mean China – the world’s second-largest economy – is no longer just a country for low-cost manufacturing. It is also an increasingly attractive destination to do business.

Several western companies – including global giants such as Starbucks, Volkswagen, Boeing and Procter & Gamble – have established a presence in the country.

But despite China’s increasing influence, challenges remain for those looking to do business in the country. Intense competition, corruption, business etiquette and language are some of the barriers that can be faced.

Here are five things you should know before doing business in China.

A mosaic of markets