China fertility drop: high growth for sperm quality improvement supplements

As the Chinese fertility rate continues to drop, more and more couples are seeking help in improving their sperm quality. Sperm quality improvement supplements have seen high growth in recent years as a result. This post will explore the Chinese men’s fertility market and discuss how can supplements brands in China stand out from the competition.

China’s fertility rate falls drastically

The Chinese Minister of Civil Affairs Li Jiheng said that China’s total fertility rate has fallen below the warning line and the population development has entered a critical turning point, with Chinese demographers warning that China’s population will start to decline in the next few years, with little chance of reversing the trend. This situation has driven many Chinese men to turn to health supplements to improve their chances to conceive.

The fertility rate of a country is the average number of children that women from that country will have throughout their reproductive years. In 1930, China’s fertility rate was 5.5 children per woman. In 2020, it fell to just 1.7.

Now China’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest since the formation of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, despite the easing of the much-criticized one-child policy that has been effective for over 36 years. In China, it remains a clear preference for a small family unit, with 35% of women preferring one child, 57% preferring two children, and only 5.8% preferring more than two.

china birth rate plumetting

The birth rate was 10.48 per 1,000 people in 2019, the lowest since 1949, the National Bureau of Statistics said. The number of babies born in 2019 was down 580,000 compared with the previous year and it amounted to 14.65 million.

Is China going through a sperm crisis?

In China, the rate of infertility has been estimated to be as great as 15%-20% (40-50 million) in women and 10%-12% (45 million) in men within reproductive age (aged 15-45 years).

New statistics confirm a growing belief that Chinese men (as it happens in the entire developed world) are producing less sperm in their semen, a trend that raises questions about their fertility in a country that is trying to boost its birth rate.

At Shanghai-based Fudan University’s sperm bank, just 10 percent of semen collected from over 100 donors aged under 35 met the bank’s quality standards.

Only 25 percent of the semen taken from donors in 2019 was acceptable, down from more than 40 percent in 2013.

Statistics show that about 12 to 15 percent of the couples of childbearing age in China have trouble conceiving, with sperm issues being a major reason.

Which factors can cause infertility?

People today live at a faster pace. Nowadays the quality of the sperm can be affected by:

  • Increasing work;
  • Stress;
  • unhealthy lifestyle;
  • Increased environmental pollution;
  • Pollution of water, air, and food

That is why this is the best moment for international brands to sell sperm quality improvement supplements.

According to FMI, the sales of fertility supplements in China are assessed at around 51.6% of the overall East Asian market in 2021, with a growth rate of 7.6%.


How to enter the Chinese supplements market?

The enormous Chinese pharmacy market, almost the second biggest in the world, offers a lot of opportunities for businesses working in health departments and wishing to launch their products in China.

The first thing to do is to have a strong presence online.

China is the most digitalized country in the world. China’s internet penetration rate has reached 64.5 percent in 2020, and 70.9% at the beginning of 2022.

The net has become the key tool for growth in this environment. 80% of the 750 million netizens have searched for information related to health care online.

There is tough competition so the implementation of efficient and innovative strategies is essential.

To Succeed in China, Your Men Fertility Brand Needs Visibility on Baidu


There are a few reasons why Chinese fertility supplement brands might want to have a presence on Baidu.

  • Baidu is the most popular search engine in China – this is the place people are looking for answers to their questions. With Fertility being such a touchy issue, people are going to be scrutinizing the brands they may consider for purchase but also looking for solutions. Great opportunity for your brand to rank on those.
  • It is structured like an ecosystem, made of Baidu Search, Baidu Promotion, Baidu Video, Baidu Maps, and Baidupedia (like our Wikipedia). Obviously, being an ecosystem, Baidu rewards the users that use all its tools. For instance, Baidu has a built-in user forum where people can ask questions and share advice about fertility supplements, so it’s a great place to get feedback from potential customers.
  • And third, Baidu also offers paid advertising services that can help brands reach even more potential customers. However, depending on the product category your supplements falls in, you may not be able to use paid ad.

To rank on Baidu & Build Credibility, start with a Website in Chinese

To rank on Baidu, a website has to:

  • be hosted in China or Hong Kong, so that the web pages will be loaded quickly;
  • be thought and written in Chinese, because not many Chinese understand English ( a translation software that just reuses your global content won’t cut it – china has too much subtility for it)
  • Have localized content. Localization is the only way to succeed in China;
  • Have an “eccentric” layout that attracts the tastes of Chinese people. They like strong colors like red and gold;
  • Have plenty of information about the company and about its products. Chinese people appreciate more those companies that have a story and that focus on storytelling.
  • Have a good Seo & Sem strategy to rank in a good position. Usually, users only click the first five results of a web search.
health supplement brands chinese website
Baidu website of Arkopharma laboratoires, one of our clients

A brand must identify the more effective keywords that Chinese people use when they look for health supplements and do link building. This expression identifies the strategic activity aimed at increasing the number of inbound links to a website, which in this way gains greater authority in the eyes of Baidu.

Use Chinese forums to take advantage of the community’s power

Chinese peoples are smart, savvy, and discerning lot. They research extensively before they make any purchase – what’s the best price? What warranty does it come with? How long has this company been around?”

In short, they are avid consumers of online reviews and forums before they buy anything. They take the time to read many different opinions on products. If you are smart about it and use this to your advantage, you are going to be doing great in the Chinese market.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through undercover marketing on forums and Q&A. Zhihu, happens to be one of the most trusted online communities in China (learn about why here)

Chinese users asking questions about infertility supplements on Zhihu

Zhihu is the biggest Chinese platform for questions and answers, similar to Quora.

80% of users are well educated (have a degree or more), 30% are well paid (they earn at least 10.000 RMB per month) and 40% of users live in first or second-level cities. Users are mainly men. 78.2% of users have more than 25 years.

Being present on Zhihu will allow you to answer questions about your products and also educate your target audience about your brands/products in an undercover way.

Zhihu is an excellent tool to increase your conversion rate and generate brand awareness. It can be a powerful tool to establish long-term trust and thought leadership, but the results do not come in a short period.

Leverage your fertility supplements brand on Chinese social media

When it comes to marketing products in China, social media is by far the most effective channel. The vast majority of Chinese consumers (over 90%) use social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo to discover and purchase and learn more about new products.

So if you want to reach more potential customers and boost sales of your fertility supplements in China, using social media is essential.

Health supplements may easily fall into the pharmaceutics products category which may limit you with paid advertising so you’ll have to go for a more organic approach to gain visibility. Thankfully, Chinese social media are numerous and offer a plethora of marketing and communication tools to brands.

How to promote men’s fertility & sperm quality supplements in China with Weibo?

Weibo is one of the best places to raise brand awareness and build a following. The “twitter-like” social media has more than 500 million users from all backgrounds all over China. Its users love it to discuss societal issues as well as to follow influencers and brand communication.

Here are some tips on how to promote fertility supplements in China using Weibo marketing:
  1. Get a Weibo official account for your brand and use every single marketing tool available to brands.
  2. creating a Weibo account specifically for the fertility supplement product and building a following of engaged users who are interested in fertility issues;
  3. generating interesting and engaging content related to fertility issues, such as tips for improving fertility, interviews with experts on infertility, personal stories from people who have used the fertility supplement product, etc.;
  4. Using effective hashtags to help reach a wider audience – men’s fertility issue is still a taboo topic and often unknown. You gotta raise awareness about it (aka create a friendly account that tackles the topic as mentioned in point number 2)
  5. Reach out to Weibo KOL that talks openly about fertility issues – they are not going to be as numerous as fashion Kol but they are out there – working with a Kol agency might come in handy.

Nurture and convert your target audience on Wechat

It may sound counterintuitive, but Wechat despite being the Chinese social media with the most users is not the best place to get a lot of visibility. This can be explained by the “closed” nature of the app. Users do not see the content because it’s trendy, they see the content because they looked for it, follow the content poster or their friend shared it.

Blackmores official’s accounts offer weekly posts with general health tips as well as tips to target more specific issues, such as male fertility issues. Their WeChat account also links to every single of their sales channels.

However, WeChat IS a wonderful app for marketing …. to people that are further down your sales funnel. See it this, way, you get the initial interest on the viral apps such as Douyin and Weibo, and you convert and create loyalty on Wechat.

To do so, you’ll need, at the very least, a WeChat official account. You are also free to open a WeChat store for a true social eCommerce experience.

Sell your products on the Chinese e-commerce platforms

China has become one of the biggest retail e-commerce markets in the world, which as a result, has created interest from foreign brands seeking new opportunities to enter the Chinese market with minimum effort.

Chinese consumers spent $2.090 trillion (RMB14.440 trillion) on retail e-commerce in 2020.

That is why we suggest you enter the Chinese market through e-commerce platforms.

In particular, Tmall has created an online pharmacy platform.

Tmall: Alibaba B2C e-commerce

Tmall is the leading B2C e-commerce site in China. It is a generalist platform that focuses on the sale of branded products. You can find products of all kinds, from beauty to mechanics.

The brands are presented on Tmall in the form of graphically customizable flagship stores.

Tmall offers many advantages to brands:

  • it has a simplified payment process, where buyers don’t necessarily have to use a credit card. In fact, it is possible to finalize your purchase through the Alipay electronic payment system.
  • Only original and verified brands are accepted.
  • Sellers have an excellent analytical tool and periodic reports on sales trends.
  • it often launches real shopping festivals to attract new consumers and stimulate sales.

Alibaba Health: the online pharmacy of Tmall

Alibaba Health was born as an investment portfolio of Tmall and it grew into a subsidiary over the years. It relies mostly on the sales of medicines and other healthcare products like vitamin supplements and supplements in general.

Alibaba Health has a revenue of 7 billion yuan or $1.07 billion. The platform enjoys a large user base. In 2020, 250 million users made purchases through the online pharmacy of Tmall.

Alibaba Health had 65 million annual active users in 2019.  It also provides online health consultation services, which saw a surge in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Do you want to launch your Men’s fertility supplements in China?

gma agency

Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a digital marketing agency that is an expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We can help your brand increase sales in China, thanks to our services. They include:

  • Advertising
  • Baidu SEO&SEM
  • Social Media
  • PR
  • KOL & Influencers
  • E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce
  • Distribution

Contact us and ask for a free consultation with one of our experts!

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