What you need to know to capture the digital market in China

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With 750 million users, China leads the way for internet usage across the globe. Two and a half times the size of the US market, China represents 25 per cent of the world’s internet users with the majority of those users (95 per cent) accessing the web via their mobile.

As such, cracking the Chinese market can mean big dollars for any business. But the unfortunate reality for most Aussie businesses is that even if they have developed an online presence for Chinese consumers, it’s highly unlikely their product is being seen.

Speaking at the 2017 Sydney China Business Forum, Nicolas Chu from Sinorbis, a company which specialises in marketing to China, suggests understanding the differences between China and the West is integral if you are to have any chance of success.

To succeed in China Chu says you need to: think differently, focus on foundations, make mobile now a key element of your digital strategy, establish brand trust and think local.

“What works here might not work in China,” he proclaims.

Chu says a direct consequence of the “great firewall” is that many Western businesses that try to market to China just aren’t being seen.

To make your brand accessible to a Chinese audience you need to adopt a different media strategy that embraces Chinese channels. Forget about Google and Bing – 360 and Baidu are the most important when it comes to browsing the web. Forget about Facebook and messenger. WeChat and Youku are King and whilst Amazon still has a presence online, Taobao and TMalisre the online marketplaces you need to infiltrate; while AliPay is a preferred payment method.

Chu suggests that whatever you do – your brand needs to be mobile accessible and WeChat is a must.

“You can do almost anything on WeChat in China, order a cab, pay for a meal, share a review. There are multiple apps available, entire ecosystems – you can even build an e-commerce site.

“You can’t go after China if you don’t think about mobile,” Chu says again. “You can do almost anything from your phone in China and QR codes are everywhere. QR codes and mobile payment is so popular in China, even beggars use it,” he laughs.

Establishing trust is also integral to a brand’s success in China, maintaining control of your brand’s reputation is imperative.

“Chinese consumers rely more on user reviews than anywhere else. Chinese users still use lots of forums and a person’s first interaction with your brand may be on a forum,” Chu stresses.

To get more insights on how to work with China check out this white paper from Sinorbis www.sinorbis.com/whitepaper

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Cec is a media professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor and journalist on titles as diverse as SX, Better Pictures, Total Rock, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Senior Writer at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.

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