The Chinese market is undeniably lucrative for the savvy business looking to expand their operations. However, It can be notoriously difficult to break into for market entrants, or even for a business that needs to re-adapt due to changing market & consumer demands.

As one of China’s largest digital marketing companies we have helped scores of businesses grow in China with intelligent strategy & flexibility at the forefront of their success.

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Here are our 20 Best Tips for Cracking & Enter the Chinese Market:

 

Targeted Visibility & Reputation

You need to engage in establishing a positive reputation as well as increasing the visibility of your brand, business or product/service. This needs to be in front of the most applicable, target demographic for your business proposition. The key is to be focused and develop your status on the platforms & sources where your target is most active.

 

Online Media & Mobile Marketing Dominates

In China online really dominates. Traditional media and offline marketing are dying the world over. China really embraced the digital revolution and now has the largest internet penetration rate for a developing nation globally, at a whopping 65%. There are also 550 million smartphones in China.

As China’s online infrastructure continually improves with better connectivity so does the role of a comprehensive digital mobile marketing strategy that really works.

 

 

Chinese Consumer Behaviour is Digital

Consumers engage typically through digital platforms. They spend on average 1.5 hours per day browsing the web research extensively online for information, this is not a nation of incredibly engaged consumers with a wealth of information at their fingertips, you need to be targeting this and putting positive content in-front of prospects.

 

A Fast Paced market – Remain Flexible & Open Minded

Business needs to have an open mind when it approaches the Chinese market. It’s incredibly fast-paced and ever-changing. New rules, policies & regulations are brought in or shift on an almost weekly basis. It’s just the nature of the beast and should not dissuade companies from acting but you need to remain flexible, ideas and concepts may need to change to target local consumers and it is vital to tailor your offering.

 

Chinese local platforms dominate

The big western players we know (and debatably love) are blocked in China. No Facebook, rather WeChat. Youtube, forget it there’s Youku, No Google, Instead Baidu and over Twitter there is Weibo. Amazon, no chance, in China Tmall & Taobao.

This whole new set of platforms have to be approached in a Chinese specific way in terms of Mandarin communications, content and engagement.

 

 

Leverage Local Platforms

These local platforms developed to cater uniquely for the Chinese consumer, they do provide a powerful infrastructure for tapping into very active communities. It’s important to understand how relevant communities and consumers behave on Chinese platforms to influence your decision on market positioning.

Local platforms are not simply ‘copy-cat’ versions but unique and innovative eco-systems in their own right, Indeed WeChat (for example) is now a leading light for social media platforms around the globe in terms of service innovation whilst Alibaba’s e-commerce cross-border stores are world-leading in terms of user functionality & design.

 

The Chinese Buy Brands

The Chinese are obsessed with branding, they don’t buy products, they buy brands. This is a society fixated on the notion of ‘face’, that is how you are perceived by your peers. The most typical way of expressing ‘face’ is through what you purchase, in a consumer-led society you need to tap into this relatively new-found desire for individual expression when it comes to branding.

A big plus is that ‘international’ products are often a byword for quality in China, this is a market often associated with fakes so carving your niche as a quality foreign brand can certainly pay dividends in the long run.

 

Increase Your Visibility on Baidu (China’s Google)

Like Google, Baidu has a huge reach in China with 75% of all online research carried out here. It really is a portal to China. Businesses need to be visible with a quality site, landing page, content & third party references appearing on the search based on Mandarin Character Keywords. A combination of Pay Per Click Ads & SEO to rank in the search engine results can deliver a lot of quality traffic.

Websites need to be built as ‘vehicles for visibility’ on Baidu (bank-end optimization) with the right keywords optimized in your content as well as titles & descriptions. Selecting the best keywords is about analyzing search data to ascertain the highest traffic for the best keyword price, a must when it comes to competitive keywords.

 

Baidu to Enter the Chinese Market

Chinese Forums are Important

It’s worth mentioning early the importance of Forums, whilst outdated in many parts of the world the Chinese are still highly active & engaged on community threads about many topics. They discuss, share information, leave reviews and offer recommendations. Developing a positive reputation on sites such as Tieba, Zhidao & Zhihu (Q&A Forums) is really important.

Baidu TIeba focuses on an ‘up-ranking’ system where content is upvoted (akin to Reddit) whilst Zhidao & Zhihu are more traditional Q & A forums.

The other important point about forum Visibility is that it helps your visibility on search engines such as Baidu, forums rank highly in search results so relevant content needs to be closely monitored and any potentially negative comments removed.

 

Focus on ROI (Return on Investment)

Return on Investment should always be a number one priority when entering China, it’s a large-scale market so test your concept first with a quality budget that can achieve results. Digital in China offers the best ROI, simply because you have the greatest exposure at the most cost-effective price. Validate your concept with proven results by following a stepping stone approach to building your business.

 

You Have to Act Fast in China

Competition in this lucrative market is growing, acting fast and entering the market is key. The pace of change and implementation is typically far quicker than in the west, remember this is China in its boom period. Making an impression, monopolizing your presence on the best Chinese keywords and notching sales on the board is the only way to set up the necessary feedback loop for business improvement. In short, just do it!

 

 

 

 

Forget About Your Previous Reputation

In China, you have to start from scratch. The vast majority of internet research (over 97.5%) is conducted in Mandarin Chinese Characters. English content, positive reviews and most western media platforms will not be visible on the Chinese net.

Picture the Chinese web as a separate region of the net, cut off by the ‘Great Chinese Firewall’, it’s a unique ecosystem that requires a fresh approach for you build your visibility & reputation on the right Chinese platforms to your target demographic.

 

WeChat is a Great Tool

WeChat is a great tool for Chinese market entry, it’s a strong Launchpad for quality content with it’s 877 million active daily users. It’s China’s number one social platform so having a presence here and engaging with your target is very important. You can create an official account for communications, build a following and push notifications to followers. It also allows for ease of payment via their Wallet service as well as a host of other functions from gaming, to e-commerce stores, to location services, dating & even taxi hailing. WeChat packs a punch for any new business in China.

The best piece of advice for WeChat is simply, keep it social. This is a conversational platform and the Chinese expect (more so than we do in the west) to have personal interactions with brands on platforms such as WeChat, businesses are seen more as individuals so ensure you closely engage with users.

 

Wechat to Enter the Chinese Market

MARKETING TO CHINA AGENCY

We are the top and most visible Web & Marketing Agency for China you will find on the web. Our Services: E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Weibo, WeChat, WeChat Store & PR.


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5 Comments

  1. hi benji, im lydia from malaysia.
    We would like to seek an advice, that how can we market our brand in shenzhen / shanghai as we are part of a listed company that our product is more related to investment in equity.
    Thank you and looking forward for your advice.

    1. We will contact you Lydia, and provide your the information about The Chinese Market that you need to launch your Brand. 🙂

  2. It makes sense why it’s best to forget about your previous reputation. It’ll probably help to get advice from someone with experience working the in the Chinses market. That way, you might have better chances of avoiding making mistakes when you first enter the market.

    1. Yes, it is always better to work first in China, to understand the market, and make your first Mistakes

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