Client Stories

Steering through the Chinese public education sector

Children around the world are challenged to manage the pressures of modern life, and there are concerns for the mental health of children everywhere. China is no exception.

“Entering this market presented a multitude of challenges. We realized early on that this was going to be a long and challenging journey, and we were in danger of getting lost unless we had a very experienced guide to accompany us. The main reason we choose Crayfish was trust. I felt that we could trust their team to open the right doors and guide us though the right relationships and potential partnerships as we entered China.”



STEER is a UK company with focus on children’s social and emotional development. Although it acknowledges the effectiveness of the Chinese education system to attain strong academic outcomes, the company believes there has been less focus on helping children to develop socially and emotionally. It was keen to engage with the Chinese market but decided its target market was not private sector schools, but rather government schools. The STEER team wanted to start a conversation with the government about the strategic direction of education in China, to introduce key influencers into the value of supporting children’s social and emotional development.

What was the challenge?

Like any other British business entering the Chinese market, STEER faced a range of challenges, from the translation of its introductory materials to the setting of the industry name for the company, plus registration of trade market protection for its brand and logos. As well as those basic requirements, STEER faced a series of questions about strategic points of entry into the Chinese public education sector.

How did Crayfish help?

Crayfish provided Steer with translation and trade marking services, as well as important strategic advice on its entry into China. Its team provided insights research, guidance and context to enable the company to make its first point of entry.

STEER needed to identify strategic platforms that could introduce and promote its ideas into China. Crayfish helped to identify the platforms and introduced STEER to high level people who manage national platforms, facilitating conversations with them. Highly experienced translators provided by Crayfish enabled Steer to convey the subtleties of its business messages.

A trip to China with CEO Ting Zhang opened doors and enabled Steer to explore additional opportunities, for example to secure invitations to present at large scale education conferences.

What was the outcome?

In less than 12 months, STEER has landed in China. It found the right strategic platforms to present its pioneering approach and identified a city location in which to pilot its programmes.

Now STEER is well placed to realise its plan for China for the next 12 months: to deliver a successful pilot programme, and to secure the right business partner for wider delivery in China.

Its broader ambition is to have influence on the direction of Chinese education going forward – to open a pathway for Chinese children to develop social and emotional character and breadth.

What does the client say?

CEO of STEER, says: “Without, we wouldn’t have been able to begin our Chinese journey. We are fortunate that we got the opportunity to be commercially successful in China and we put that largely down to the guidance and advice on strategy we received from

“Any business that intends to enter the Chinese market needs to be realistic about the cost in time, effort and money required to be successful. You want to make sure that you spend your resources wisely. I would unhesitatingly recommend as an advisor to help you decide where you should strategically invest your resources to give you a realistic and achievable chance of success. I have always been able to trust the judgement of the Crayfish team. Where it’s been wise to spend more money, we’ve been encouraged to do that, but equally where it has been prudent to change our strategy and pull back, we’ve also been given guidance.”

“For anyone wanting to take their business into China, will give you the best chance of success. Its team is trustworthy, knowledgeable, committed, flexible and responsive to you as a client. I don’t think you could ask for more.”