China as the world’s largest water purification market

China’s water purifiers market is one of the newest yet fast-growing markets. With only a few hundred players in 2000 and more than 3000 of those now, it is forecasted to grow 16% annually by 2023. It is predicted that by the end of 2020 there would be 40 million units sold in the water purifier market in China, leading to half of the households getting at least one. This would result in a total market average revenue of 28 billion USD.

The popularization of air purifiers in China started in 2011 when the government estimated that 82% of the river water resources and 55% of the groundwater resources were highly polluted with detrimental contaminants. It’s not even a decade of steady development… For such an extensive consumer market that China possesses a decade is nothing. This can be proved by the fact that only up to 10% of Chinese households have water purifiers of any type.

Factors for the growth of the water purification market in China

  1. Water contamination

Waters in China get direct pollution from an outrageous number of factories. Apart from that, poor air quality contributes a lot to water contamination. Moreover, rusty pipes in old buildings add insult to injury.

  1. Health Awareness

Chinese people are currently largely following the world’s common trend of taking greater care of one’s health. They don’t want to consume water that contains dust, chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, etc, anymore.

  1. Boom in related industries

A boom in real estate in China has significantly increased the demand for water filters and purification systems. This is particularly true for the 3rd and 4th tier cities.

  1. Growing purchasing power

There are no people with no money in China provided that there is value for money in front of them. The growing economy has made it possible to regard water purifiers as an essential tool in the basic consumer basket here.

  1. Increased advertising

Local brands have already done a lot to nurture the culture of using water purifiers in Chinese homes. This has contributed to the growing demand.

For drinking water alone, if an average household consumes 5-6 liters of clean bottled water per day, this would result in 2000-3000RMB per year and even more. A water purifier is, however, bought to be used for years.

7. Low penetration rate

Less than 5% of Chinese families have water purifiers at home. Combined with the growing demand backed up by the above-mentioned factors, this gives a lot of prospects for the water purifier brands in China.

Owing to these factors, Chinese people are willing to buy water purifiers

According to China Daily, in Shanghai, Zeng Wenjing spent 10000RMB (roughly 1500USD) for a water purification system and 7000RMB on an air purifier. Zeng said it was a worthwhile investment because these appliances will help him to keep his family healthy. He feels the value for money…

The Size of the Bottled water market in China

see more on the water market in China

Leading water purifiers Brands in China:

  1. Midea Water Dispenser Company
  2. Qinyuan Water Purifier Company
  3. Angel Drinking Water Industrial Group
  4. O.Smith Water Treatment Products Company
  5. 3M
  6. Paragon Water Systems
  7. Litree Purifying Technologies Company
  8. Canature Environmental Products Company
  9. Originwater Technology
  10. Ozner Water Purification

Why do they need foreign brands in the market?

  1. Water purifiers were already commonplace in the western world at the time when Chinese people realized there’s a need for them. This makes them associate foreign brands with expertise.
  2. Foreign brands are considered to be also more luxurious and innovative.

Types of water filters Chinese families choose

  1. Shower Filters

Skin and hair problems in China are largely caused by poor water quality. Water is immensely chlorinated and it is significantly harder than that in the western world.

With the increase of waterborne diseases in China, citizens have become much more conscious regarding the levels of chlorine and heavy metals in the water they use to wash.

They prefer to use water softening and purifying filters at home to make the shower experience a relief rather than another factor for going to see a doctor in the future.

  1. Drinking Water Filters

Chinese people have a very strong concept connected with water. Water is considered not only to be a source of life but also a panacea to any matters happening to a single individual. Believe the role of drinking water in China is much more exaggerated over its role in the whole world altogether. Expats make a lot of jokes on this, however, the good thing here is for the water purifier brands. They definitely will never die out in China.

It is blatantly obvious that drinking water can become a big issue if it is not clean. We are what we consume. Chinese people use filters to make sure they are healthy.

  1. Faucet Filters

Chinese people tend to use faucet filters to get rid of the water smell, strange taste, and heavy contaminants when brushing teeth, cleaning hands and faces, bathing the babies.

  1. Laundry and Dishwasher Filters

Hard water in China also results in the faster discoloration of clothes and strange smells coming from the dishes taken out from the dishwasher. Filters are becoming more popular with the rising living standards.

Where to sell a water purifier in China?

Online stores. Here’s why:

  1. In 2012 there were only up to 4% of water purifiers sold online, now online channels are absolutely predominant and still increasing their part.
  2. It is not only about water purifiers but about the whole country becoming more involved into the digital world – everything is bought online now.
  3. 3rd and 4th tier cities that still offer a lot of opportunities in this market are also acquiring online purchasing habits.

E-commerce platforms to sell water purifiers:

  1. and JD Global

Being different in operation features, these two interrelated platforms form a unique arena for selling home appliances in China, including water purifiers. There’s a chance to open flagship stores here and even use an online payment escrow service with transactions in USD. more information on and JD worldwide

  1. Tmall and Tmall Global

Tmall platforms that belong to Alibaba Group form the biggest e-market in China in general. High-quality products like water purifiers are searched for here. Tmall now also offers an opportunity to work with distributors.

  1. PinDuoDuo

PinDuoDuo is a relatively new platform, however, the fourth biggest in China. It allows focusing more on consumers from 3rd and 4th tier cities. A good option for those selling water purifiers.

How much time is needed to start selling on these platforms?

You might ask… The registration process might take a month or so. But as long as we are talking in China investing in an online store and spending a month-worth of time is not a guarantee of selling a single unit, yet.

Before opening an online store in China, a water purifier brand should:

Get a Chinese website or WeChat account

Procedure to open an official WeChat account here

You might say you do have a website, I might pinpoint that:

  1. Foreign websites are often blocked or barely accessible in China.
  2. Chinese people on average can only say “Hello” in English..they don’t need it. Do you have a Mandarin-language version..?


Next, WeChat:

  1. WeChat is the most popular social platform in China, with 1 billion active users now, at the beginning of 2020.
  2. As a foreigner, I can say life in China is impossible without it.
  3. WeChat is used for chatting, content sharing, work, studying, shopping for any-thing, payments of any type, news reading, promotions, etc.
  4. It offers personal accounts and business accounts that require verification (verification is a big advantage in China).
  5. Businesses can use it for introduction purpose, regular newsletter spreading, purchasing even.
guide on how to sell on wechat

Website is more important for search on the web, while WeChat is effective for further promotions and selling as well (it is not easy to find a WeChat account without knowing it beforehand).

Work on one’s visibility

One thing to remember Always:

China used to be an isolated country for a very long time. What people have learned at educational establishments or from the news is confined to China’s inner affairs, mostly. It’s okay, it’s absolutely wise for a country with such a huge population. Too much freedom and too many details can make it difficult to manage, so the scope of knowledge is quite narrow here.

It is great and wise for the country, but it is bad for foreign businesses. This affects the presence of the water purifiers brand in the market:

  • Because they Can’t use Google to search for anything, including your products, – they use Baidu in 85% of cases;
  • Foreign websites are often lost in Baidu systems:(
  • Baidu requires taking measures to get a high ranking and be seen.

The visibility problem can be solved through:

  1. Keywords from your Chinese website, primitively.
  2. Baike page (which is Chinese wiki) – a verified page giving a high rank automatically together with trust of the Chinese consumers).
  3. Backlinks from forums like Zhihu/Zhidao and others.

Land oneself positive reputation

This is worth your special attention.

When you start your business in China, it literally means you start it from scratch. Even if you were a highly reputed supplier of water purifiers in your market or even in the rest of the world, this might mean nothing in China.

Let’s say, starting to market water purifiers in China means having no reputation yet.

Together with that, reputation in China is much more important than anywhere else in the world, because:

  • The recent piece of news that “5200 fake water purifiers were imported from China to US” is the best supportive argument that China is prolific with fakes and scams. If they manage to cheat on an international level, we can only imagine how well they are doing this within their borders;
  • Chinese people don’t like any risks in general, especially with something they buy for long-term usage like water purifiers;
  • “better safe than sorry” is a Chinese way of life, so they prefer to follow the common public trend;
  • Good reputation creates a buzz and activates the best mechanism of the feeling of the crowd.

The algorithm of how reputation works:

  1. An average Chinese consumer wants to buy a water purifier.
  2. There is a vast array of those in online stores, various types, models, and brands.
  3. He goes on Baidu to search for expert opinions and the reviews of consumers who already bought some.
  4. He finds positive comments on your brand, the brand is also regularly mentioned in press.
  5. He trusts your brand and buys it.

Ways to work on your reputation:

  • Press relations;
  • Further discussions on relevant internet sources.

Proceed with branding thereafter

  • Branding is something that goes hand in hand with reputation and comes after you open your online stores in China.
  • So Branding is about making a lot of people speak about your water purifiers.
  • Branding is about creating the buzz around the product.

Imagine a country of 1.4billion people as of the beginning of 2020. Of course, a brand has to involve as many people as possible to gain weight here.

Influencers for branding

China can boast a very developed hierarchy of influencers from small influencers to celebrities.

Cooperation with influencers is efficient for new brands in China because Chinese people have a strong sense of identification with the crowd. They need leaders to follow. KOL, key opinion leaders (or a group of Chinese influencers), performs that role successfully.

Among KOL, you might find the ones who are experts in water purifiers, kitchen and bath appliances, home appliances. These are the ones who have a strong influence on the Chinese consumer.

Start now – sell big in China

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1 comment

  • Unlike in some lucky cities in the world, China’s water is not drinkable and this challenge creates many opportunities for companies. The water purification market in China is indeed huge and Chinese people are more likely to buy this type of product on e-commerce platforms as you introduced some of them.
    They have more trust in large e-commerce retailers as Tmall, JD, or PDD and thus have more trust in brands that are present on these platforms.

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