For most Western brands, selling in China was an unattainable dream just a few years ago. However, today the situation has changed and the Chinese get a chinese mobile number is full of opportunities for foreign companies . It is the perfect time to prepare a solid internationalization plan and disembark in the Asian giant with a digital marketing strategy in China that serves to compete, on equal terms, with national firms.China, a constantly growing online marketWith sustained growth in consumption in both cities and rural areas, China is the promised land for retail business. According to data for October 2019 collected by the National Statistics Office of the Government of China , sales of retail goods rose 7.2% in that month in year-on-year terms . A behavior in line with the typical transaction increases of the last two years, as can be seen in this graph:Evolution of retail sales in China 2018-2019Evolution of retail sales in China 2018-2019
If we focus solely on online retail sales, this growth skyrockets. Between January and October 2019, the sector collected more than 8.2 trillion yuan, 16.4% more than in the same period of 2018 .What opportunities does China provide for Western companies?
Once we have the general portrait of the Chinese market, we have to pay attention to its singularities. In what specific niches are the business opportunities for foreign companies? The first thing to consider is that demand is extremely polarized . The Chinese consumer tends to:
Acquire the cheapest options , in an eagerness to hunt for bargains.
Or to opt for premium products of an aspirational nature, of great quality and high price.
In the first segment, most gulf email list of the western brands have a losing battle against the national ones. The path for a foreign company to succeed in China should be oriented towards the latter.35% of Chinese will be upper-middle class by 2030
The luxury sector , therefore, will live its golden age in China in the coming years if it knows how to play its cards well when it comes to marketing its products. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Chinese Consumer in 2030 report predicts that, by 2030, 35% of the Chinese population will belong to the upper-middle class . A staggering figure if we consider that currently only 10% of Chinese fall into this category.This study urges companies not to neglect third and fourth tier cities in their business strategies . According to The Economist, small towns such as Foshan, Wenzhou or Changsha will, within 10 years, become cities capable of overthrowing Beijing in numbers of high-net-worth citizens willing to spend on luxury goods.Particularities of the online behavior of Chinese consumers
A good digital marketing strategy in China should be built on a deep understanding of the Chinese consumer’s Internet behavior . The rules of the game are nowhere near the same as the western ones, and there are three basic ideas to keep in mind:Mobile is kingThe mobile is the device of choice to connect to the web … and, consequently, to buy online. According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Internet penetration in 2018 reached 59.6% of the Chinese population, that is, 829 million people. Of these, 817 million accessed the network via smartphoneoogle and Facebook have little to do
In China, access to Google and Facebook is prohibited by the Government, and the actors that dominate the digital landscape are others such as, for example, the WeChat app app , the Weibo social network , the JD marketplace or the Tmall and Taobao portals , owned by Alibaba.Home page of Tmall, key portal in a digital marketing strategy in China
The customer journey is very different from that of the western user
While the Western customer journey is highly marked by individualized searches, visits to brand websites and the impacts of PPC advertising, in China this itinerary has a strong social bias . Users browse social networks to discover products, gather information about them, ask third parties for opinions, contact merchants and finalize the purchase, paying for their purchase without leaving the app where they started the processA brand that wants to carry out a digital marketing strategy in China cannot copy the same actions that have worked for it in Europe or America. Selling in China requires flexibility and adaptability to a completely different online ecosystemTONY CHEUNG , MANAGING DIRECTOR AT LABELIUM CHINA
Digital Marketing Strategies in China: Where to Start?
In terms of specific digital marketing tactics in China, three of the most effective ones have been revealed areThe central role that social networks have in the Chinese consumer’s customer journey makes influencers take on a great rolTo reach the Chinese consumer, brands must not speak directly about themselves, but must rely on influencers and opinion leaders to do so for them on social media. Only then will they be able to gain the trust of their first customers.TONY CHEUNG , MANAGING DIRECTOR AT LABELIUM Cdeveloped in the West. The ideal is to combine entertainment with storytelling so that they go viralShort videos, between six and 15 seconds, generate high engagement rates, which augurs a promising future for video advertising formats and for streaming broadcasts , which will be favored by the introduction of 5G technologyIn any case, the best option to enter the Asian market is to do it with a partner specialized in digital marketing strategies in China with an international presence, such as the Labelium Group .