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3 Proven Channels for a Successful China Marketing Strategy

ln China Marketing Strategies, Marketing in China

The Chinese Market — The Elephant in the Room

You can’tignore it any longer, so what channels should you be using to get your messageout to the Chinese market.

Companieshave begun to realize that China is a market that can’t be ignored, yet stillfeel discouraged due to the challenges of accessing the market. A general lackof knowledge about China’s laws, culture, and language make selling yourproduct in China quite the difficult task. One of the most difficult taskscompanies face is getting their message out to Chinese consumers in a time,place, and manner that they can relate to. Obviously, social media marketing onFacebook and Twitter won’t help your company with The Great Firewall in place,so what can you do?

1. Your Website: Make your website both readable andaccessible…in China

“My website is already accessible in China, what are you talkingabout!?!?!” is probably what you’re thinking.

However,it’s probably not as accessible as you think it is. Here’s some important tipsto consider when trying to reach out to Chinese customers through your companywebsite.


Haveyou heard of “The Great Firewall of China?” Of course you have, that’s thereason why Chinese people don’t use Facebook and Twitter right? Although “TheGreat Firewall” only prevents access to “controversial” websites it alsothoroughly vets all forms of traffic that is generated from outside thecountry. This results in great slowdowns in speed and can even prevent certainforms of content from loading correctly.

Soeven though your company has put tons of effort into painstakingly crafting itscompany website, potential customers might not even be able to access itproperly. In today’s day and age we all know how important first impressionsare, so how do you prevent your customers from seeing a glitchy unpolishedwebsite.

There’sreally only one solution here, you will need to host your website locally inChina. This can be easily done and can make all the difference to your newpotential customers.


TheChinese market has become one of the most valuable in the entire world, yet itremains stubbornly difficult to communicate with. With estimates on the amountof people from China speaking English ranging from a staggeringly low 10million people to a generous 300 million. Even at the high end of theestimation this still only means about 21% of the Chinese population speaksEnglish.

Source:chinawhisper (English translation for Ironing Room)

Whileyou may be able to utilize simple English messages like Nike’s “Just do it,”more complex marketing messages are going to require use of the Chineselanguage. If you’ve made the effort to get your website hosted in China, makesure you’ve also had it translated by a native speaker to assure it’s readableto an average Chinese person.

P.S. GoogleTranslate is not a Marketing Strategy in china

2. Social Media — Facebook and Twitter have noPower Here

We’vealready seen the power of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms inWestern countries and how businesses have been able to leverage them improvebrand awareness. Although China doesn’t use these platforms, they have theirown versions which can be equally useful for businesses.


Wechathas over 700 million users, which makes it the 2nd largest source of traffic inChina. Users can post/share content, message, shop, and even transfer moneythrough the Wechat app. This app has become an essential part of daily life in China for most people. Wechat is an essential tool for any company developingits Chinamarketing strategy.

Click to see the FULL infographics

Sina-Weibo — “The Twitter Clone”

AlthoughWeibo may have started out as a Twitter clone, it has really begun todifferentiate itself in recent years by adding more and more features for itsuser base. While Twitter’s user base has been in decline, Weibo has been continuously growing. In fact, it is expected to outpace Twitter by mid 2017. Just asTwitter has become an important tool for businesses, Weibo has also become apowerful tool for accessing the Chinese market.

Video Platforms

Videoplays an important role in the Chinese social media scene, just like everywhereelse. Although China doesn’t have access to Youtube, they have their ownplatforms, which include Youku, Tudou, Iqiyi, Sohu, and others. New platformsthat are quite similar to Vine, have become incredibly popular in China,leading to the rise of a strong Key Opinion Leader(KOL) presence. Businessescan leverage the influence of KOLs and create their own videos to develop amore multi-channel China marketing strategy.

Discussion-Based Websites

Websiteslike,, and have become powerful tools for reaching out to customers with amore targeted approach. Each of these platforms has millions of users whoparticipate in discussions on a variety of topics. The platforms are unique inthat they encourage more active participation. The closest equivalent availableto the English-speaking world would most likely be As on Reddit and other websites like this, businesses have paid usersto help generate buzz about their products by posting subtle advertisements.While these websites host discussions related to a wide variety of topics,there are even several industry specific websites where companies can participatein industry specific discussions. Websites like and are active boards for travel and tourism while Real Estatecompanies have sites like and For retail there are sites like and for fashion.

However,companies need to be careful in utilizing these platforms as outright andobvious advertising is likely to result in bans/blacklistings from websitemoderators.

3. Search Engines (SEO) — Baidu is your friend

Whileyour website might be optimized to rank high in Google’s search results foryour desired keywords, you’ll have to do it all over again in China where Baidureigns supreme. Search engines are the largest source of traffic in nearly everymarket, so although optimizing your website to rank higher on Baidu may bedifficult the results will almost certainly be worth it.

Nearly70% of all searches conducted in China use Baidu, with its next closestcompetitor 360 garnering a measly 14.2%, so optimizing for Baidu is clearly theright choice.

Optimizingyour website for Baidu search will be difficult and will most likely requirethe help of a native speaker, as it will require an understanding of Chinesesearch behavior and the style with which they input keywords. Optimizing forBaidu search might be the most effective tool among a company’s China marketingstrategies, as it is responsible for directing a massive amount of internettraffic. Just as SEO has proved to be remarkably effective in other countriesthroughout the world, a multitude of companies have been able to benefit fromoptimizing their websites for Baidu.

Final thoughts on your China Marketing Strategy

Workingwithin these channels won’t be easy and will most likely require the help ofsome native Mandarin Chinese speakers, but gaining access to such a massive market will almost certainly bebeneficial for your company in the long run.


Edited by RaymondLam