How Do China Public Relations Work?

China public relations

Marketing strategy and public relations are often linked. The objective of both is to influence the consumer. A good public relations strategy should take into consideration the government’s regulations as well as the consumer’s sensitivity, culture, etc. Sensitive words should not be included in your press releases, otherwise, they will not be published successfully.

In this blog post, I will explain to you how public relations work in China market and share some of the best strategies to make them work for international brands.

How to Manage Public Relations in China?

Public Relations (PR) in China is about strategically sharing press releases with the right media. It’s all about crafting profiles that highlight your company. This can happen through traditional media like newspapers or blogs, Chinese social media platforms where influencers talk about your brand, or even the community discussing your brand on social media.

PR has a unique advantage – it endures over time and gets you noticed by trustworthy sources on other websites, lending credibility to your brand. So how to manage them correctly just like Chinese companies do? Let’s take a look.

China public relations: Wewood

Define a public relations strategy

Knowledge of these external influences can determine the success of your China public relations strategy.

Traditional newspapers vs. online reading in China

China is one of the few countries where print media has not faced a steep decline. Newspapers are still successful among consumers.

The development of Internet technology and the rapid changes in new media have led to huge changes in audience reading habits and media contact behavior. Therefore, the traditional newspaper industry is facing the dilemma of reader loss.

The increase in online media made the landscape even more fragmented and seems complicated for new players in the market. But it presents great opportunities for China’s public relations strategy. Many of these online media platforms are independent of the government so it will be easier to access this kind of platform.

Focus on the localization of your content

When you want to do PR to promote your branding, of course, you will think about using Chinese in your campaign, but pay attention to which Chinese you use. In China, there are two types of written Chinese, that are:

  • Traditional Chinese: Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • Simplified Chinese for China’s mainland

You need to adapt your PR communication to be more effective. Localization, not only in PR content but also in strategies, is the most important aspect of developing your public relations strategy in China, Most social networks that foreign companies are used to are blocked by the Chinese Great Firewall.

In China, they have their own social media. WeChat, the leading social platform, has more than 1.3 billion active users. It is also a powerful tool for marketing strategies in China.

If you work with Chinese specialists and/or native content writers it’s better. They have the keys to writing the perfect message for your consumers and for the government. It will be more effective for your target.

Legal restrictions should be taken into consideration when doing PR

Media are always “controlled” by the Chinese government for the country’s interest. Articles thus must stay aligned with the overall official state perspectives.

Those platforms for public release in China set a system of sensitive word captions, which means if your articles include certain sensitive words, they will be blocked or you can even not publish them.

Sensitive words make an article blocked on Chinese social media

Those words are very difficult to know, and they are changing all the time, but they are normally in 3 categories:

  • Politically sensitive words: There are many violations involving politics, usually mentioning the government, the name of the country leader, the error of the country’s leadership position, the name of the country’s institution, etc.
  • Pornographic content, vulgar words: those are all illegal words.
  • Malicious promotion words: Vocabulary such as account number, card number, payment, remittance, payment, payment, Alipay, bank card, how much money, etc.

Press release: essential for your strategy

As one of the important channels for public relations management, press release plays an essential role. It’s a strong tool to create relationships with media agencies. It’s also a great way to control the data newsworthy about your company, etc.

Example of a cooperation public release on an authoritative forum in China. (Just under this Baidu result, it’s their positive press release about helping in Children’s health) 

Why press releases are so important?

Better Website Authority = Better Baidu Ranking

Press releases are coms/articles/videos published by media companies/blogs. If media companies’ post seems genuine, they are often the fruit of a partnership between a company and a media channel.

This kind of partnership allows companies to be talked about by media/blogs in a very controlled environment. For media outlets, it is also a win as it provides interesting & exclusive content and/or monetary compensation.

A press release usually also means a backlink. As for Google, the more backlinks to your website, the more authority it gets, giving you more chance to rank above your competitor.

Companies’ positive images associated with keywords

Just imagine, if a brand has no mention or information when you are looking for it on your everyday search engine? You would not trust it, right?

Well, a press release is one of the most cost-efficient ways to get a third-party website to talk about you. The more third-party websites talk about you, the more trust you’ll gain from consumers. As said earlier, it is also a way to control what is being said about your brand online.

High-quality press releases will be included and displayed on high-quality, large-volume news homepages. If you publish enough high-quality content, it can form an automatic association between keywords and companies.

Provide information sources for encyclopedia & SEO boosts

For companies or individuals who want to do encyclopedias, one of the thresholds is to provide “reference materials“, which are news sources. In other words, if you want to be displayed on the Wiki, it is best to appear directly in the news.

This means that you need to keep the press release information on the search engine. With this information, you may be able to do Baidu Baike for you or your business and Baidu SEO.

Long-term effect: press release lasts in time

News releases are particularly not time-sensitive due to real and considerable & useful information. This means that the news releases published will not disappear and can be accessed continuously.

As long as you search on the search engine, the news releases will appear. Therefore, it is a cost-efficient tool long-term establishment of brand image and reputation with good results.

An important role in negative public relations management

Example of Haidilao (a very famous Chinese hot-pot restaurant) PR on Weibo

All companies will have both positive and negative public opinion/information on the Internet. A qualified public relations is to prepare in advance and take precautions. In the era of the information explosion, once your negative information is seen and forwarded by netizens, the resulting public opinion will lose control afterward.

At this time, you need to issue a large number of positive and effective press releases to suppress quickly and effectively those negative public opinions,  thereby reducing corporate losses.

Social media in China is a powerful tool for your PR

Social media are very important in your China public relations strategy. Chinese people, more than in other countries are very active on social media.

Using social media is effective in your public relations strategy because you can create content shareable. You can communicate with your Chinese consumers and create a community of followers. You create engagement with users and it will improve your reputation.

Weibo, the second Chinese social platform, is often used for PR activities in China. It is an open social platform, so it can reach many audiences.

A PR strategy suitable for the budget is a good strategy

This type of online public relations communication works very well in China.

Why ask about the budget before doing public relations activities? Because as we are doing a PR campaign, we have to be very clear about how much your budget is to do. Given that in China, there are too many channels for PR, so the choice is very important. A suitable channel needs half of the work but double the results.

Therefore, it is important to make suitable communication channels according to the budget.

What is your objective for PR, brand exposure, or conversion rate?

For temporary public relations activities, or activities that need to be planned one month in advance or two months in advance. Assuming that we have fixed the budget for PR, the next step is to set goals.

What do you want to get from the campaign? This should be a question you need to discuss with your agency. Because different goals have different channels and different strategies.

Case Study Sgms

We Specialise in China Public Relations Suitable for Any Budget

Public relations is not so hard to understand in China, the theory is the same everywhere. However, the channels and the PR content are different, and they are essential and the most important part of your PR activities in China. You need to know how it works and its differences if you don’t want to fail and waste your money.

The power of the government can’t be put aside because it has an influence on all the media. In addition, language and cultural barriers between brands and consumers have to be taken into account. Keep in mind that China is not like Western countries. It’s better if you find a specialist in the Chinese market or a native to help you to create your public relations strategy.

We are a specialist PR agency, based in Shanghai. We have a deep understanding of Chinese digital marketing and PR campaigns.

We are always updated about the latest trends and the real methods for success. We offer cost-effective, long-lasting solutions that will gain you good e-reputation and increased visibility in China.


Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can discuss your project and create the best PR strategy for your China entry.

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