The Rise of Psycological consultation China: How to Market your Mental Health Clinic?

The rapid growth of China’s mental issues

Psychological problems have always been a huge “hidden disease” of the Chinese society, yet it has an impact on the system and the lack of options in the Chinese healthcare systems offers private companies opportunities. According to data from the National Health Commission, the mental health problems in China have increased from 1.12% in the 1990s to 17.5% in 2017 and are expected to exceed 20% in 2020. Over the past 30 years, China’s economy has been skyrocketing, while the rate of depression in the Chinese population has increased by120 times.

China’s mental health problems are associated with the rapid development psychological consultation China

Behind this big problem lie several reasons:

  • Late emergence of psychology in China;
  • Problems associated with rapid development;
  • Deficiency in mental health care.

Due to the late emergence of psychology in China, the Chinese still do not have a full and in-depth understanding of mental illness and psychological treatment, and there is a tendency to stigmatize mental illness. They are ashamed and embarrassed to face it. Even though many Chinese people find their negative mental condition, they will avoid medical treatment, and they will even not talk about it with others.

Peng Kaiping, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Tsinghua University, believes it is a “development problem.” When everyone is fighting for their survival, the issues of hunger, food, clothing, and shelter had attracted almost all our attention. But now life in China is relatively affluent. Industrialization and urbanization give people a lot of stress. As a result, psychological illnesses all appeared. According to the professor, it is the inevitable fact of social development.

Online psychological consultation helps fill the gap of mental health care deficiency

In China, there is a big gap between the increase in mental illnesses and the deficiency in mental health care. In recent years, with the development of the Internet and the popularity of mobile phones, online psychological consultation apps or websites emerge, filling the gap and changing the Chinese versions of themselves and the surrounding environment about mental health.

Aiming to meet the enormous mental health needs in China, more and more social capital is entering the Chinese mental health market. As of 2017, there are 38 Apps for mobile therapy. Their services can be concluded as below:

  • Online psychological consultation;
  • Making an appointment for a physical psychological consultation;
  • Psychological tests;
  • Q&A;
  • Popularization of psychological knowledge.

What are the most popular Online Psychological Consultation channels in China?

The lack of physical options for the demands and the taboo that surrounds mental health in China is the perfect ground for digital consultations options to develop. Here are some of them:

Yixinli – one of China’s most popular online psychological consultation websites

PSY.Com is a non-profit psychology portal website that publishes psychological information and provides psychological counseling and psychological tests.

It obtained the “Internet Business License” issued by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Communications and became the country’s first professional psychological consultation website with an ICP certificate. It was established on October 14, 2002. It was changed to China Psychology Network on September 14, 2004.

Yixinli was launched in July 2011 and has been focusing on the field of mental health. The platform has more than 17 million users and 6,372 psychologists. 30% of its users are from first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

If we talk about online psychological consultation, we can not ignore Knowyourself, even though it is a young company, it has quickly got an eye-catching position in the Chinese online psychological consultation market. Established in April 2016, KnowYourself owing a media brand with the same name as the company in the field of psychology in China. It talks about topics including intimacy, emotional management, personal development, personality, family relationships, etc., and it has gathered nearly 9 million users.

The payment for knowledge service was launched in late 2016 by the company. Moreover, it has opened a WeChat mini-program in June 2017 to share knowledge with its followers. Organized by a young team, Knowyourself has been presenting on many channels in China – WeChat, Weibo, Zhihu… since the foundation and gained quickly a lot of users.

How to Market your Mental Health Clinic to a Chinese audience?

  1. Creation of your websites;
  2. Zhihu (Q&A) marketing;
  3. WeChat management;
  4. Baidu SEO

Creation a your Website in Mandarin: Look more reliable and professional

For businesses who want to enter the Chinese market, they must know that Chinese people are very cautious about unknown brands. They like to search for information online to persuade themselves that they are going to make a good choice.

The creation of your own mental health website is the first step and an essential step for your success as it is a portal between you and your targets. If Chinese people search for your brand name and can find your website, this will give them a reliable image of your clinic.

Zhihu (Q&A) marketing: lead generation & brand awareness

Zhihu is the Chinese equivalent to Quora. As the largest knowledge social sharing platform in China, Zhihu has more than 69 million registered users, with an average visit time of 40 minutes per user, and cumulative monthly page views of more than 9 billion.

Knowyourself’s official account on Zhihu

Since Zhihu has a high-quality user group, more and more brands hope to use Zhihu to directly interact with high-quality users of the platform in a more interesting social form with precision, sincerity and efficiency.

Psychological clinics can reply to or create questions about mental health on the platform in order to generate leads and promote brand awareness. Answering mental questions of Chinese people with psychological problems is the way how a clinic works and helping them can make them trust you. What’s more, content on Zhihu has a priority in Baidu search results since Zhihu belongs to Baidu.

Knowyourself has more than 1.7 million followers on Zhuhu and has answered 1,386 questions on the platform.

WeChat management: build a community centered around mental health

WeChat has more than 1.2 billion registered users and is the largest Chinese social media. Since Chinese people don’t use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, WeChat is their main way to communicate.

On the platform, companies can use a mini-program or official account to organize their business and share posts.  Mini-program is like an app, but the big difference is that users don’t need to download or install it and can use it directly within WeChat. From the perspective of the psychological field, companies can utilize mini-program to sell their services just as the following picture shows.

Mini-program & official account of knowyourself on WeChat

WeChat official account can be served as a newsletter place where brands share posts with their followers. It is a great channel for building a community around your business.

Baidu SEO to boost your brand recognition

If you ever used Google SEO, you must know how powerful SEO tools are. This is especially true in the Chinese market because Chinese people rely on online information. Baidu is the leading role in the Chinese search engine market, accounting for around 70% of the total market share.

Having a good rank on Baidu results can bring traffics to your websites and get people to know about your clinic, thus increase in brand recognition and finally in sales.

To conclude on the of psycological consultation China

On the whole, China’s current mental health service level and education level are far lower than those of developed countries. The shortage of talents has led to poor service accessibility and a low rate of consultation. The habits of psychological consultation need to be cultivated, and the demand needs to be released.

However, online psychological consulting services, not limited by geography elements are filling the gap between Chinese mental health care deficiency and increasing mental problems. From this point of view, receiving psychological counseling services on the Internet is actually a consumption upgrade in terms of price and experience, compared to going to the hospital to queue up to receive inquiries from psychologists or psychiatrists.

People in first-tier cities face greater pressure in life and work, and they also have more consumption power, which constitutes the main user groups in demand. The Chinese psychological market has a promising future and giant potential to be discovered.

gma agency

GMA is an expert in the Chinese market and Chinese digital marketing. Follow us on WeChat, Facebook, LinkedIn or visit our website to read brand-new insights on the Chinese market.

If you have some projects, feel free to contact us. We have helped many big or small foreign businesses to expand in China.


  • I couldn’t agree more. During the pandemic, anxiety and stress are particularly acute, people need additional help, without such help centers can not do

  • Thank you for talking about this. Despite the fact that now more and more people start talking about any mental disorders, but this topic is still tabooed by our society and people. For some reason, this is treated too lightly, as if it were just some kind of fantasy and not a disease. At the moment, especially during a pandemic, this is one of the most popular problems. From a long period of stay at home, mental problems can begin. And here we need the help of specialists and the support of relatives. Therefore, I hope that there will be more such centers (even online) and perhaps this will prevent many tragedies.

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