Internet Marketing in China: Best Practice

internet marketing China
internet marketing China

Internet Marketing China

In 2012, the Chinese netizen population has exceeded 564 million.

  • 420 million of them are using mobile surfing online;
  • 309 million of them are checking micro-blogging;
  • 242 million of them go shopping online;


online shopping


The size of the online marketing cake has caught the attention of both local and foreign companies:

  • 60% of the companies have increased their web marketing budget in 2012, over 50% on average;
  • 36% of companies take online marketing as the major marketing way.

In front of such a big cake, where you can start the first bite?

From the introduction of the solutions that are used in cosmetics, tourism and beverage industries, let’s see those proven best practices.


cosmetics China



It’s no exaggeration that marketing to cosmetics companies in China is what life is to a man because consumers, especially Chinese consumers buy cosmetics for brands!

The online marketing strategy that cosmetics companies take aims to combine the advantage of storming the spread of information and building brand image online at the same time. As a result, SNS, e-PR and e-commerce are frequently used in this field.


Social Networking Sites marketing is the most important marketing tool for cosmetics tool for the fact that Chinese cosmetics consumers go to SNS for information and trust other users’ experiences and comments.


And all these are manageable, via community management, viral marketing and events marketing; cosmetics companies can not only spread but also build a favorable image of their brands among potential consumers.


As a highly trusted source of information, big sites such as portals, government websites, and professional online magazines can influence cosmetics consumers a lot. So online press relations are also an important and beneficial marketing work for cosmetics brands to do.

E-commerce in China has expanded to such a big size as 1184 billion RMB! It’s a big market for most companies.  So is for cosmetics a company.  In fact, 58 billion RMB of cosmetics has been sold online in 2012.


china outbound tourists


Tourism market

Like the cosmetics market, the tourism market, especially the outbound tourism market greatly relies on online marketing because 85% of the interviewees choose the Internet as their choice for information.

For companies who want to start or expand in China’s tourism market, online marketing and branding is a suitable strategies. It offers the following advantages:

  • cost-efficient
  • precise marketing
  • easy reputation control
  • feedback from the market.

A website in Chinese

Most Chinese tourists make decisions depending on the information they found on the company website.

  • 50% of the tourists compare 2 websites;
  • 18% of them compare 3 websites;
  • 9% of the tourists compare 4 websites.

So a company without a website will probably be running behind the ones with websites.


Homepage of Hilton hotel
Homepage of Hilton hotel


Company website of Hilton hotel

What’s also important is to show your website to the vast amount of Chinese tourists. The most popular solution is using SEO and SEM.

Social networks

Social Networking Sites (SNS) are another important source for Chinese tourists. For example, now 1 in 2 Chinese Internet users have Weibo (micro-blog) accounts. People search, check and share information on Weibo. It also makes Weibo the most popular online marketing tool in China.


Westin weibo account
Westin weibo account


PR (Public Relations)

PR is a powerful tool to attract Chinese tourists. It allows you to communicate with potential customers with attractive visuals to get them to comment, share, and develop an interest in your vacation destination.

A new article posted on Chinese news can get a high quantity of views at a surprisingly fast rate!

The Opinion Leaders or Celebrities

KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or celebrities can easily influence Chinese tourists with their communities and the secondary network of their fans. They are highly respected and their movements are followed by millions of Internet users.


china beverage in supermarket


Compared with the marketing targets of cosmetics and tourism companies, beverage companies’ marketing strategy is more focused on the coverage of the brand, or penetration rate in the market.


The most popular way is PR. Only in June 2012, the total investment from beverage companies on portals exceeded 120 million RMB.  The growing concern about food safety pushes beverage companies to put more effort into building a trustful brand of safe beverages. And PR is the best solution they find.

Video website

After PR investment is the video website promotion. 55 million RMB was spent at the same time on a video website for promoting beverage brands.


The key to the beverage brand’s online marketing strategy is the choice of media. For example, non-alcoholic beverage brands will put pay more on the video website that young men visit a lot. On the contrary, alcoholic brands will invest more in ads on IT, finance, and auto-related websites that middle-aged men usually visit.

Source: CNNIC, iResearch, China e-Business Research Center, C-trip, Internet Marketing Committee of China (IMCC)

Feel free to contact me at marketingtochina[at] if any suggestion or questions on China internet marketing.


  • May I just say what a comfort to uncover someone who actually knows what they are talking about on the web in China.
    You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light
    and make it important. A lot more people really need to look at this and
    understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular because you most certainly have the gift.

  • Olivier

    Continue to read our blog and share among your friends 😉

  • Joshua (Shanghai)

    Phillip, very engaging article. I am currently living in Shanghai and I need to learn more and more about the Chinese-market.

  • syracuse

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to
    a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • Pat from LA

    Hello Philip,

    What do you think of emailing in China ? It is a good strategy ?

    And about video marketing, put a lot of video on Chinese platforms ?

  • Hello Philip, I really like your blog and your tips are so helpful. Keep going and I will go on reading your posts!


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