Digital Marketing to Chinese Consumers 101

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A big part of succeeding in China is having your brand recognised online. With over 1.1 billion active mobile phone users, China is at the forefront of the digital economy and how you market to them will determine your success or failure.

Have a Chinese Website

Having a Chinese website is advantageous as it builds rapport and authenticity. Potential customers will quickly abandon a website if it’s in a language they do not understand. Having a Chinese website will make it viewable and searchable in China’s largest search engine Baidu thus Opening your door to millions of potential new clients.

In summary, having a Chinese website can have the following benefits:

  • Gain Trust
  • Create New Opportunities
  • Be More Competitive
  • Be in native search engines
  • Increase Sales and Bottom Line

Why Google Translate Doesn’t Work

Google translate is good at getting the general idea of a sentence and works most of the time but do not be too reliant on it. Below is a literal translation:

[su_table]

English Text Google Translated How its Actually Interpreted
Get your foot in the door 让你的脚在门里 Let your foot trapped inside the door

[/su_table]

As you can see above, sometimes Google Translate just plain fails. The reverse is also true. Just go to any Chinese website, hit Google Translate and see what you can understand from it. To really connect to Chinese buyers, you will need a multilingual website.

Ways Your Website Might get Blocked by the Great Firewall of China

China has a very strict censorship and surveillance system in place and for websites that don’t adhere to their views politically you can be sure they will get blocked. While there are no sure fire ways to know if your website will get blocked, a good guide is to look at existing sites that are blocked and not associate your website with them or link to them.

For a list of the most popular websites that are blocked by the Great Firewall of China check here. You can see many of the most popular websites today are blocked including Google, most social media, pornographic and news websites. Another way you can disassociate yourself from blocked websites is having a dedicated server rather than shared hosting with known blocked websites.

So I Should Host my Website in China?

After reading the above, you’ll be under the impression it’s best to host your website in China. That way you can get unrestricted access and faster speeds. Not quite. You will be under the scrutiny as outlined above and maybe even more so. To have a website in China, you will require a business registration number, be currently operating in China and have an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license. Getting an ICP license is a long and complicated process that we do not recommend you do yourself. There is a way around it though and that is not in host in China entirely.

The Solution?

Host in surrounding countries with a more lax registration process. This allows for the fastest speeds and unrestricted access.

Chinese Social Media

Wechat or Weixin in China is a popular messaging app similar to WhatsApp in the western world. WeChat has functions and features to that of Facebook and Whatsapp combined which is why many people prefer it over WhatsApp. Likewise, people who want a simplified platform prefer WhatsApp. While we won’t be comparing the two in this article, we will point out that Wechat is by far the most commonly used among Chinese people.

Wechat also offer companies and businesses an option to create an Official Account. Similar to a Facebook business page, an Official Account allows your business to provide article feeds to subscribers. To apply for a Wechat account please visit http://apply.wechat.com/

Note: Wechat users will have access to Chinese and International accounts. However, Chinese users of Weixin will NOT have access to International accounts created on Wechat.

Weibo – Twitter like alternative in China. Use it to follow celebrities and advertise your current products and services.

Hopefully this articles provides you with some insights on how to sell to the Chinese consumer. It only touches the surface. In part 2, we will explain in greater detail on how to promote your business digitally in China and how Chinese culture influences buying habit and preference.

That side, all businesses are different and do not take a one size fits all approach. What’s been working for you? What hasn’t? Please share comments below.

To get your business China-Ready regarding branding, multilingual website localisation, digital marketing and more, please do not hesitate to contact us with your requirements.

References

[1] What Chinese tourists like and dislike about Australia

http://www.traveller.com.au/what-chinese-tourists-like-and-dislike-about-australia-31kby

[2] Chinese tourists spend record amounts but Australian retailers risk missing the boom

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/chinese-tourists-spend-more-money-in-australia/7633736

[3] China’s 55 trillion yuan credit card clearing market now open for competition

http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1968737/chinas-55-trillion-yuan-credit-card-clearing-market-now

Australia Tourism plans towards 2020

http://www.blockedinchina.net/ – Test if your website is blocked in china

Destination NSW – Strategies for China Tourism in NSW

Guinness book records for Singles Day http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2014/11/alibaba-smashes-online-sales-records-after-taking-%2493billion-on-singles-day-61907

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