Next year, avid Chinese consumers will spend $8.3 billion on mobile games. Here, entrepreneurs who have tried to bring all kinds of business to the country spill their top tips on cracking China:

"Either have a trusted lieutenant in China or don't come into the market. You have to respect the local way­--having dinner every day with local officials, speaking language like a local, adhering to local government policies."

-- Alvin Wang Graylin
American-raised Chinese; China regional president for the virtual reality unit of Taiwanese phone maker HTC

 

"I was warned by a U.S. official in China, 'When your company starts doing well, you will be accused of a crime, and you will be put in prison.' There are so many arcane laws and lots of bureaucratic nonsense. Someone's always trying to create friction for you--they use the rules and laws as a competitive tool, and those who have the closest local relationships will win."

-- David Liu
Chinese American; co-founder of the Knot and chairman of XO Group

 

"You have to redevelop everything in China using local tech platforms. All the stuff you have built in America is useless."

-- Richard Chen
Chinese; a venture partner at Ceyuan Ventures and Vitruvian Partners, and an investor in Dots and Flexport

 

"Make sure you protect your IP first. Protect your trademark in China before you talk to anybody--go to trade shows, anything. You want to make sure you understand the culture, find a positive way to deal with the government, and look for a good local partner. Very few companies can do it on their own."

-- Savio Chan
Chinese American; CEO of the business advisory firm U.S. China Partners

 

"Recognize that everything you learned in your home market is only partially applicable in China. You'll most likely need to adjust your product or service or business model to make it appropriate for the Chinese consumer base--or for regulators."

-- Lisa Cosmas Hanson
American; founder of Asian digital-gaming consultancy Niko Partners

 

"In the U.S, you talk about location, location, location; in China, it's relationship, relationship, relationship. That's true for everything you can think of that's related to your business, from government to vendors to employees. They tend to pick and choose who they work with not necessarily because they're paid more, but based on who they have relationships with."

-- Micky Fung
Chinese American; founder and executive chairman of Shanghai-based taxi TV company Touchmedia

 

"Silicon Valley investors tend to be a lot more hands off. Chinese investors want more visibility and are more hands on. It is a different mindset."

-- Ryan Petersen
American; founder and CEO of freight-forwarding startup Flexport, which operates in China

From the November 2016 issue of Inc. magazine