In the wake of China’s unprecedented economic miracle comes to a nation more internationally engaged than ever before. This is facilitating greater levels of overseas investment from Mainland China with the rise of the upper and middle classes entailing a dramatic shift in attitudes, particularly when it comes to relocation abroad.
In 1978, China opened up, and with it came the astonishing outflow of people which stands as one of the most notable and salient trends over the past four decades. According to ‘Wang Huiyao’, the founder of Beijing-based think-tank, Centre for China and Globalisation, upwards of 10 million Chinese have moved abroad in search of pastures new.
Statistics suggest that there are 350 million ‘middle class’ Chinese consumers, over a million of which are able, and increase desire, to invest in property abroad. The ‘green card’ or visa for permanent residency, serves as the crème de la crème for the wealthiest sector of society. In line with the country’s GDP growing by 7% each year, the number of Chinese capable of investing in foreign residency schemes is greater than ever and likely to increase.
‘BUYING’ FOREIGN RESIDENCY
It is well within the realms of possibility that the super-rich can buy foreign residency. A Chinese citizen investing £2m ($3m) in Britain is granted permanent residency and appealing education benefits; Australia has a similar scheme for an investment of $5m AD ($3.6m). 70,000 Chinese millionaires have sought colder, quieter, and more mountainous horizons since an immigrant investor scheme launched in 2008, though this scheme has since closed, it presents concrete evidence for the foundations and appeal of foreign residency projects.
WHY ARE WEALTHY CHINESE RE-LOCATING ABROAD?
SECURITY OF INVESTMENT
The harsh truth is that China doesn’t have the same legal rights & security measures for wealth and investment as you may find abroad. Security of investment is paramount for any person, whether you’re a business person striving for phenomenal wealth or whether you’re looking to protect the livelihood of your family. Europe, Canada, America, and Australia offer the best opportunity for investment for the reassurance of preserving the money invested and the potential for wealth multiplication.
HIGHER COSTS OF LIVING IN CHINA’S CITIES
Living costs in China’s super-sized come at a premium even for the wealthiest, in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing, and Shenzhen, real estate prices have increased to staggering levels, many by at least 20%. Certain districts in hedonistic and cosmopolitan Shanghai have risen by over 40% in the last 5 years, 1,000 square foot apartment will set you back upwards of $725,000, the same as around five million RMB. Moving abroad either partially or permanently is increasingly becoming the cheaper and more desirable option, as a substantial living space in China could end up costing millions of dollars.
EDUCATION IS A KEY FACTOR
‘Native English education’ is the greatly sought-after commodity desired by families for their children, and it remains a key factor. Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences released data that claims 57% of Chinese parents would insist on their child studying overseas, studying abroad has become an aspiration for many.
Residency schemes are increasingly likely to offer educational benefits to ensure that that family heading for property abroad have the best and most reputable academic opportunities in place for the promise of educational development in a competitive modern society.
4 million Chinese have left the homeland to study abroad since 1978 and – according to the education ministry – half have not returned. This gargantuan movement of students has been influential in the need and demand for family re-location due to lengthy study abroad and the potential for permanent settlement post-study.
HOW DO YOU ATTRACT CHINESE INVESTMENT?
INTELLIGENT & TARGETED LEAD GENERATION IS THE SOLUTION…
Online is the answer, initially. China’s online eco-system is unique due to its seclusion from the rest of the web, ‘The Great Firewall of China’ has conjured a vast array of online platforms that cater directly toward the people within the jurisdiction of the Chinese internet. The largest online population on earth is restricted to the boundaries in which its the government has created and as somebody seeking investment, you should see this as an incredible opportunity to captivate the users.
TO ATTRACT CHINESE INVESTMENT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND:
- Your target demographics online behaviour.
- Where and how they are searching for information.
- How to utilize Chinese platforms to target them in the most effective way.
Online is the answer in terms of lead generation, you need an effective strategy for ‘eyeball grabbing’ & initial communications before you can develop the relationship offline.
Here is a run-down of the key strategies for investor lead generation & conversion in China.
HOW TO MARKET A CHINESE EMIGRATION BUSINESS
CREATING A QUALITY CHINESE WEBSITE
Just like when you walk down any high street, be it in Shanghai, Seoul, or London, you need to be captivated by the offers in the window before you consider investing, this means creating a high-end ‘shop front’ is integral for your investment service. To begin, the site needs to be hosted on a Chinese server and ideally with a .cn domain. This is almost a necessity since Chinese search engines rank your site based on load speed.
Secondly, your site and its content need to be designed and optimized for the Chinese internet and the end-user. You cannot simply transfer your existing content, it must be altered and targeted at the Chinese investor. Users typically expect live chat services as well as contact forms.
Thirdly, a static site that has more pages is preferable in China, primarily for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes. When looking to rank highly on keywords in the organic, natural results (where the highest quality traffic is driven), it pays to feature a page on this topic of at least 500 words.
It is imperative to consider how you are communicating your offer to the Chinese investor, content is king. Spend time ensuring that Mandarin Chinese keywords can be optimized at the ‘back end of the site. This includes meta descriptions, titles, keyword tags, page references & cross-referencing. Internal linkage within a site creates keyword connections and highlights the core aims of your service.
CHINESE SEO (SEARCH ENGINE Optimization)
SEO is an incredibly competitive area when it comes to creating investor leads, implementing the correct methods however, it can be exceedingly lucrative. The interests of SEO are to ensure your long-term visibility, the most qualified results are generated through users searching for applicable information and discovering your site in the NATURAL SEARCH RESULTS.
Baidu – dubbed the ‘Google of China’ – is where 75% of all online research is conducted, focusing here for optimum results.
Ask yourself if a moneyed citizen, experienced and highly professional would click on paid ads (these can be important) or whether they would scan the organic results in order to conduct accurate and conclusive information. Being present within the organic results is the most prominent way to assemble a reputation as a serious competitor.
For SEO in this field, we would select 10-20 keywords to optimize, a minimum commitment of 4-6 months is required for this approach. Highly competitive terms such as ‘overseas investment’ will take a long time to rank but more specific terms such as ‘UK Visa’ or ‘Live in UK’ are easier to rank on & generate more qualified prospects. More information here
SEO is a long-term solution since it takes a long time to rank highly amongst the organic results if you are fresh amongst the visible content in China. The strategy is to develop backlinks to your site from other highly ranked pages, that will in turn increase your own ranking. Creating and implementing Chinese content will be instrumental in achieving the goal of a highly ranked webpage, equally so is forming online connections. When featured, content must be referenced and linked to your landing page. For SEO purposes local players (such as GMA) have established link-building strategies and schemes for clients.
SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (PPC ADS)
Having no natural ranking when you first enter the Chinese market makes you difficult to find, which makes PPC vital. ‘Pay Per Click’ ads appear at the very top of the results on Baidu, investing in these will give you an online presence.
Selecting effective keywords will be imperative with your PPC ads, you will be paying good money for your visibility, optimize your chances of success by expanding your consumer scope with broader search terms and testing the best SEO keywords.
THE ROLE OF WECHAT: CHINA’S NUMBER ONE COMMUNICATION TOOL
WeChat has over 860 million active users, making it an absolute titan within the world of online social platforms. It is the most important communication tool for investment service companies.
To put it plainly, captivating a broad audience, grabbing the attention of the masses, and generating leads is a difficult task on WeChat. It is a ‘closed network’, users must already be connected before any contact or even content can be viewed. The solution for eyeball grabbing is Baidu SEO/PPC as this is where potential investors are actively searching.
Chinese citizens trust WeChat with their everyday communications, they use it to speak with friends, family and to form contact with services. You can use Baidu to attract interest and generate leads, then continue the conversation over on WeChat, you can build a relationship with your potential investor, you can send images, all kinds of specifications, video updates, and even contracts/paperwork.
Having connected on WeChat presents the opportunity to develop relationships and share tailored content directly to potential customers via your ‘moments’ feed, viewable to everybody connected with you. WeChat has the potential to host in-app web pages – or a ‘Micro Site’ – and can be valuable for presenting extra information, promoting your customer service, reputation, values, and enabling content before the eyes of prospective investors.
One tried and tested approach is to drive traffic/leads to your contact form page and then embed QR codes which – when scanned – instantly link the user to your WeChat customer services team. The Chinese prefer WeChat as the first point of communication over an aimless sales call, the best port of call is to head here, the sanctuary in which your target demographic actively communicates.
INVESTMENT FORUMS & E-REPUTATION
Popular forums such as Sohu, Tieba, Tianya & Zhihu have investment threads for the sole purpose of investment overseas, qualified traffic will search here and discuss their experiences and queries. Generating positive threads about your services is imperative toward formulating that longed-for e-reputation. At first, creating positive sentiment can be done so artificially, though in the long run genuine testimony and outlook will be abundantly beneficial toward the increase of visibility and reputation.
Moreover, doing this will increase your Baidu visibility, search results often find mentions of a company in forums that have a strong ranking, especially in forums such as Tieba and Zhidao which both belong to the Baidu group. Often, forum results may even appear above your official site. Let’s ensure that your forum reputation is strong and reputable.
Display News has a strong impact, with a 25% online penetration rates apps such as Ifang or Toutiao can generate mass interest, you can target users based on keyword searches and relevant news topics to increase the likelihood of your target being qualified.
The process works by embedding an ‘advertorial’, or news ‘ad’ into the news feed itself, on the ad is a basic contact form where interested parties can leave details. Investors turn to these news sources for much of their information and developing this DSP (display) targeted approach can pay dividends, the quality of the lead is not as high typically as Baidu organic traffic BUT it produces a very high number of prospects with a percentage typically ‘qualified leads’, in terms of ROI this strategy remains a sensible one.
YOU NEED A PARTNER IN CHINA ?
The Immigration investment market is a lucrative one and targeting this unique proposition to the right demographic will initially raise the profile of such investment schemes and both directly & indirectly increase Chinese investor participation through an intelligent, long-term strategy devised for results.