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By Anu Sundaravelu
The size and scope of China undoubtedly makes it a daunting market to enter and an even harder market to thrive in. However, what businesses often fail to appreciate is that the simplest way to grow might be to cater to a market that is miles away. The widespread use of the internet and the advanced social media landscape in China makes selling to them feel that they’re right next door. So, how can your business enter the world’s largest e-commerce market?
Anyone who has visited China will understand that cash is virtually obsolete in China. From street vendors to buskers on street corners, mobile payments have leapfrogged cash and cards as China’s most dominant method of payment. As has so often been the case, the Chinese have adapted to this shift in technology at a pace that is incomparable to the rest of the world. China is a completely different ecosystem, so here are some tips to bear in mind when marketing to China’s technologically savvy market:
China is the world’s largest social media market with a projected number of over 800 million social network users by the year 2023 – more than half of the country’s population. For a country where top players like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube don’t exist in the social media space, it’s hard for Western businesses to get their foot in the door. Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs, the Chinese counterparts of western ‘influencers’, are your business’ way into the Chinese social media arena.
As of January 2019, the impressions per post from the top-tier Chinese influencers on WeChat hit 75,000. There are various types of KOLs, from ‘web celebrities’ to industry experts, so it’s important to choose an appropriate personality for your brand. Even well known Western celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have immersed themselves into the Chinese market by collaborating with Chinese KOL Viya to promote her new line of perfumes.
When marketing to China it’s important to use an appropriate medium for your business. Naturally, WeChat would undoubtedly be the go-to platform to get your brand in the eyes of the Chinese audience. With 1.132 billion monthly active users reported in the second quarter of 2019, WeChat is China’s most dominant social media platform.
An understanding of how it works and how it immerses itself into the lives of the over 1 billion daily active users in China is key to developing an effective marketing strategy. It’s also vital to understand the terms and slang that are trending among the Chinese population to ensure that your brand’s messages are always in context for your audience.
When catering to a new audience it’s important to get the messaging right. In fact, one of the mighty sins of communicating with the Chinese market is alienating one’s audience with messages that are culturally irrelevant. A particularly effective way to incorporate cultural nuances into your messaging is by referencing their holidays, what appeals to them and familiarising yourself with what makes them tick. A little research goes a long way, for example – China is home to so many different shopping festivals that make the annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales look tame. From 11/11 to 12/12, the Chinese love to shop, so it might be time for your business to begin incorporating these messages into your content strategy.
Ease of Access
From low-cost space travel and high-speed rail networks to e-cars and 3D printing, the Chinese have always been one step ahead in terms of technology adoption. Mobile payments are no different, with the country leapfrogging cheques and cards and going directly to mobile payments. Over four-fifths of Chinese mobile users prefer to use mobile payments, with Alipay and WeChat Pay accounting for over 94% of the country’s mobile payment market. Research has shown that a further 91% of Chinese consumers will be enticed to spend more if merchants offer WeChat Pay and Alipay, so it essential that businesses have a payment method in place that caters to the Chinese population and the platforms that they are familiar with.
While this might seem a lot to keep in mind, we have only skimmed the surface. We specialise in making entry to the Chinese market a breeze so why not get in touch with us today to discuss a China strategy that is specific to your business needs.