Key things to remember when advertising in China

Advertising in China allows you to bring your products or services to the attention of a wide and lucrative market. The large culture gap between East and West can cause some problems. Misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge can be catastrophic for businesses.

Before you begin planning your campaigns, here are some key things to remember about Chinese advertising.

Win their trust

Chinese consumers have many reasons to be wary. From the widespread fakeries on the market to the zoo which tried to pass a dog off as a lion (source: CNN), Chinese consumers have been duped before. It is vital that you provide your target market with enough information to feel secure doing business with you. For instance, 85% of online consumers trust brands more if they have seen them on social media (source: Ad Age). It is no use spending lots of money on advertising if consumers click on your ad and then decide you aren’t trustworthy.

Build a relationship with influential social media accounts and work hard to turn customers into brand advocates and they will provide an authoritative source of information your target market can trust.

Know the law

Chinese law on advertising went through an initial redraft in February 2014, which was reviewed again in January 2015. The changes aim to more closely control what is allowed in the Chinese advertising market. It is worth familiarising yourself with the current regulations to ensure your advertisements don’t infringe them in any way.

Most of the changes are in line with what you would expect from a transparent business committed to responsible advertising. For instance they state that pop-up advertising must be easily closed in just one click, and that you cannot contact people via email, phone call, or text to advertise to them without their prior consent (source: Data Matters).

Take advantage of location targeting

Consumers in the wealthiest Chinese cities are used to being competed over by major brands. However, there is a new market evolving in more rural areas of the country, and the lower tier cities. While rates of online shopping grew 17% in the city, the number of shoppers in the countryside grew 41% – which equates to 77million people (source: Wall Street Journal).

Targeting customers in lower tier cities won’t work for every business. However, with the Chinese advertising market experiencing huge growth, focussing on more rural consumers could open up a new, less competitive market. Using location targeting, you can easily get your online adverts in front of more rural shoppers.

Getting help from a Chinese advertising agency is the best way forward

From setting up your adverts to writing Chinese advertising copy, you’re going to need help. A Chinese advertising agency mixes a deep understanding of the culture with a roster of professional local contacts to get you the best results.

Advertising in China shares the same principals as advertising in the West: be prepared, and understand your customers in order to succeed.

(Image source: Image created by renjith krishnan |