6 Tips on marketing to Chinese consumers in digital world

In the previous post, we explored the opportunities for western businesses in China, however, the high level of governmental control and regulations in traditional media makes western brands question where and how to start the journey in China. Turning to digital is key for western brands to unlock China’s marketToday, we will share6 Tips on marketing to Chinese consumers in digital world“.

 Tips on marketing to Chinese


1. Market research – Do some market research to get started

No matter how small your business is, it’s advisable to spend some time on doing reliable market research before venturing into business in China. Not only good research saves cost, but improves the efficiency from the start of a journey in China.


2. Branding – Pick a Chinese brand name

Names are imbued with deep significance for Chinese people. Picking a brand name that resonates with Chinese consumers could impact your online performance.

Coca-Cola is a great example. The Chinese name is “Kekou-Kele” which not only sounds like the English but can also be translated as “Tasty and Joyful”. There are many other good examples. Colgate is called “Gao lu jie” which translates into “revealing superior cleanliness.” The brand name “Nestle” is translated as “Que chao” which means “sparrow nest” because the brand’s logo is a sparrow in a nest.


3. Chinese website – Adapt your English website into Chinese version

Creating a Mandarin version of your website not only will encourage communication between you and your Chinese audience, but it will put you on the market that you welcome your Chinese audience.

How to create the Chinese website? Simply duplicate the English site into Chinese version? This is NOT true. We would highly recommend businesses to localised your Chinese site features based on the market research you have done, ie. load time, hosting location, product customisation, pricing, content, customer service etc. In addition, social media sharing, user reviews and live chat on the Chinese sites have increased year-on-year in China.

Here is a wonderful example, Estee Lauder, one of the world’s most renowned beauty brands, has a tailored made Chinese website, on which you can see an unique category “璀璨美白” (CyberWhite Brilliant Cells) that can’t be found on the English site, because Estee Lauder know their China’s market very well – Chinese ladies love bright skin.


4. Search – Drive traffic to your Chinese website

As Google has a small presence in China, therefore optimising your Chinese site on Chinese search engines like Baidu is very important as it enables more than half a billion Chinese internet users to find your products / services online. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a long-term strategy from which you will gain permanent benefits, while Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) is a quick way to bring in targeted traffic and qualified leads to your Chinese website.


5. Go social – Increase the brand awareness

China is the world’s most socially active online population. Unfortunately Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are banned in China. Marketing and advertising on Chinese popular social media platforms is a great way to increase your brand awareness. Sina Weibo is the most important Chinese social media channel, with more than 500 million registered users, which you can not risk to avoid.

Online video is another fantastic marketing channel for you. YouTube-like Youku & Tudou are the dominant online video channels in China, with 300 million covered audience weekly by 2012 (Source: iresearch). Chinese people prefer to watch re-broadcasts of TV shows online rather than to use digital recorders. These factors have made online video marketing and advertising a wonderful vehicle for brand awareness campaigns.


6. Mobile marketing – A trend to the digital marketing

Mobile devices have become the premier device to access the internet in China, 74.5% of 564 million by 2012 (Source: China Internet Network Information Centre). Search, social networking and shopping are popular activities on mobile devices. So, these reasons are enough to make a mobile-optimised version of your Chinese site, perhaps consider M-Commerce enabled if you are in E-Commerce industry.

Tencent-owned WeChat, the most popular mobile communication and private social networking app, has more than 400 million mobile internet users and you are now able to integrate with M-Commerce on WeChat, which allows your target audience to buy goods, pay bills, even complete transactions via the simple mobile app. All in one go, amazing! Therefore, WeChat is also called “do everything” app. WeChat has been expanding to overseas marketing and now has over 70 million users outside of China. Not using WeChat yet? Hurry up, put it on your online marketing strategy right now.


So, what are you waiting for? Your competitors have realised the huge opportunities in China and already been marketing to the Chinese market. Take an action now. If you don’t have a Chinese expertise in your marketing team, no worries, just hire a Chinese online marketing agency to help your start the journey for China’s market. Why not contact us to have a chat?

(Image source: “Red Chinese door” | www.freedigitalphotos.net)