How does Chinese Market work? How can companies promote themselves without Facebook and Google? How do people survive under huge competition there?
China is -still- a mystery for foreigners. The country means a huge cake, but before entering the market you will need to answer to this and other questions. To make it easier to you, in 2 Open we have taken a brief look of the Chinese market and done a list of the most basic tips you should consider before landing in China.
Gone wrong? It can go much worse
When many companies started their business in China for the first time, the things they used quite a lot in local made no sense in China.
Ebay is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms around the world and a perfect example to explain the experiences many foreign companies face in China. Due to its leadership, the company assumed that its landing in China would be no much different to that experienced in other countries, so in the beginning they refused to establish a partnership with JD.com. The company soon realized there were no more choice but to cooperate with them.
What are the most common problems that foreign companies face in Chinese territory?
Foreign enterprises in China often fall into the same shortcomings we analyze below. Let´s see:
First, Always try to show their high-end enterprise images
Foreign enterprises always show their best face: high-quality services, responsible attitude, respect to the customers… and so on. But in China, price is the key and can always be the KPI which attract the customers’ sight immediately.
Second, Focus on high-end target audiences but ignore the rapid growth of China
When companies like Blueberry entered China, they set the target group to those corporate users. As the earliest and past No.1 smart phone, Blueberry had already been famous in China. But within 7 years (2006-2013), they retreated from China and closed their Chinese official website.
When Huawei set off their business, what they did was to set the target audiences as all people who want smart phone. Since the average income of Chinese people is increasing, so that more and more can afford a smart-phone. Huawei was right about its strategy.
Third, Copy the promotion strategy directly to China
Many foreign companies would prefer to make a wonderful advertisement, an amazing poster and advertise in the subway stations, supermarkets… and everywhere. But they always find out that the ROI is quite low, since they might only get 1 customer for a 100 RMB budget. Does it outweigh? We don´t think so.
In China, since the civil quality is still on a shallow level, what the customers care most is whether they are interested in, but not what is a good design. That is why when Taobao.com stepped out their first step, they even promoted on some illegal websites which had huge traffics every day.
Fourth, Think too much about customers but ignore what the customers are thinking about ICQ. The instant messaging software also failed in China!
The U.S. companies are always stricts on protecting the users’ privacy. With such a policy, users can’t find the chat record if they log in on another PC, since the software will not memorize or save these records in order to protect the privacy to the most degree.
Its counterpart in China, Ma Huateng, found out this fault which doesn’t fit the Chinese users’ requirement. In response he created QQ, which is based on the technology of ICQ and make this software become the most-used IMS in China.
Fifth, Rely too much on the Western promotion ways, companies do not want to do things directly
E-mail, Mail and SMS promotion require low budget and have huge audience quantity. Well, they do not make sense in China. For many Chinese people, it is absolutely offensive if they receive advertisement in these channels since they have watched and received too many advertisements already. Moreover, for most Chinese these all are considered private.
They don’t like to be bothered by anything they don’t even know. In China, what people prefer is face to face, no matter if it is for sales promotion or negotiation. The Chinese only trust the people in real life. That’s why when Zhou Hongyi took the responsibility of Yahoo China, he fired all employees who only did E-mail promotion but never visited the clients.
What should you do, then?
First, Pay attention to Chinese culture
Chinese culture is totally different comparing with the Western cultures. Different political systems, different History, different religious beliefs. Thus, the culture strike shows extremely seriously in China.
Your company should do its best to avoid the culture strike and assume their role. We suggest you yo have a look to Lancôme experience in China.
Second, Explore the Chinese consumer behaviour and preferences
Knowing the Chinese consumer behavior and their preferences make the difference. What are the KPIs to attract them? What they care the most? What they pay less attention to? What channels they prefer to get promotion information?
All these questions need to be taken into account when setting up the marketing strategy in China.
Third, Know the correct channels
Due to the firewall in China, many foreign websites (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are not allowed in the China mainland. Thus, use Chinese sources.
Fourth, Speak that language
Chinese people still prefer to speak Chinese. So, when doing business with them, try Mandarin: it is always more than welcome.
There are still lots of thing we need to explore and learn about China. In search of an Ecommerce and Digital Marketing Agency?
This article has been edited by Paula Vicuña, from 2 Open.
A picture is worth a thousand words
After the great success achieved by our two articles 10 Things You Need To Know To Build a Chinese Website (I) (II), in the team we have thought it would be a good idea to summarize and turn them into an infographic.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed its elaboration 🙂
Are you looking for a digital marketing and ecommerce agency?
Visit us. Let´s have a talk!
In the first part of this article, we showed and identified 5 main points that differentiate a Chinese website from its western counterpart that we need to keep in mind in order to build a good one.
Let us summarize some of the main points addressed in the previous article:
- The style, design and structure are more complex and with much more information in opposition to the cleanness of the western websites
- Where to host your Chinese website is one of the first decisions to make. The most of the times we advise you to have a hosting in China. For that you will need a Chinese company to apply for an Internet Content Provider (ICP License)
- The Chinese Great Firewall blocks all websites that do not meet the content requirements that marks the Chinese government
- Your website needs to be ready to integrate with the main Chinese players. Google, Facebook and friends are banned in China; instead you will need to use the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent).
After this little updating, we would like to further develop this post showing you 5 more crucial things to take in consideration when building a good Chinese website.
When building a chinese website, What else should I know?
6 – CHINA IS MOBILE. BE RESPONSIVE
Adapting our website to mobile is very important in any country, but in China is mandatory.
The Smartphone is, in many cases, the only way they have to access the Internet. Therefore Chinese users are much more familiar with the use of mobile devices. Keep in mind that almost the 50% of all Ecommerce transactions made in 2015 were done via mobile, compared to the also quite high 22% in the United States.
Don’t think any longer and start working on a nice mobile design… Mobile first!
7 – DOMAIN. WHICH ONE IS THE RIGHT OPTION FOR ME
In your approach to domains, three are the main options:
– Not that long ago, to have a .CN was a must. It was not possible to get it if you didn’t have a Chinese legal entity. This has changed over the time and now you can easily get a .cn domain, no matter where your company comes from, just providing a copy of your Company’s ID. As the Chinese international top level domain, your brand might be perceived as having a strong presence in China and might also bring some trust
– On the other hand, we have the .COM domain. Chinese Internet users are increasingly getting used to this domain. Major Ecommerce platforms like Tmall.com, JD.com or Sunning.com may bear much of the blame for this. It can be very good for foreign companies trying to sell their products in the Asian giant to have a .com domain as it might help to highlight the international feel of the brand
– .COM.CN is the ugly duckling in the middle still in use by many brands mixing the good things from the previous mentioned domains, but without reaching their full advantages. In any case it can also be a good solution.
Which language should I use?
Another point to think about is the language to be used. Does your brand have a Chinese name? Then you can also use its pinyin term. Pinyin is the romanization system for standard Chinese: Chinese search engines recognise the pinyin words in the URL and then link them to what they stand for in Chinese characters in order for the website not to lose coherence.
Don’t get crazy about the domain, they are usually not that expensive. So, in case you can afford it, try to get the three of them (.com, .cn and .com.cn), plus their pinyin variants and redirect them to the main one; depending on your strategy.
8 – CONTENT. DON’T GET LOST IN TRANSLATION
It is important to know very well your main target markets as the language will differ depending on it. It might be obvious to mention it, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a company’s target consumer is in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macao and the language used for the website translation was simplified Chinese instead of traditional Chinese and the other way around. That is a major and silly mistake that takes a long time to revert.
I don’t want to mention either the fact that a Google translated web does not help at all, but I am doing it because I have seen too many. It is mandatory to let a professional team take care of the translations. In 2 Open we separate this process in three parts:
- Translation, interpreting the main message that the customer wants to transmit to the final customer, done by a marketing professional in our team
- External review, done by a professional translator outside the team
- Final review, done by another marketing professional in our team
You might not believe it, but in certain cases we still get minor complaints. This is because Chinese language can be interpreted in many different ways. Therefore translations are always a difficult point in the list.
Is Customization a mandatory requirement?
Let’s not forget about the Chinese cultural customization. Website localization embraces translating and localizing a site into different languages making sure all content (text, images and videos) is translated correctly in an accurate, cultural and technical manner.
As stated before when talking about content, we are also talking about images and videos. There are no written rules and it has similarities to the domain section we discussed above. There are brands like Nike or Zara that prefer to maintain their international feel using western models in their multimedia strategy. Many young Chinese users welcome this method, but not all of them. Depends on the strategy you want to follow.
9 – PAYMENT OPTIONS. CREDIT CARDS? NO, THANKS
In the previous post, we wrote about the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent). In China, the online payments market is currently dominated by two of these two tech giants – Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat payment with 49.2% and 20% market share respectively.
These companies try to increase their market share by adding more brands and merchants within their ecosystem; something that both companies effectively handle. Also cash is king, as cash on delivery holds a strong position. The fast and vast adoption of electronic payments via mobile is likely to counter this trend in due time.
It is actually China and not the US at the leading edge of the trends towards mobile payments technology. Just for putting an example, both WeChat and Alipay have long used the now famous QR codes to let Chinese netizens pay for purchases and transfer money. It seems they have jumped over some natural technological development processes. This kind of behaviours can be quite normal in undeveloped countries that start to grow very rapidly.
What happened is that they adopted the mobile payment technologies even before implementing some existing ones as a huge percentage of the Chinese population accesses the Internet via mobile devices.
Get ready to integrate Alipay in your website as first and mandatory option. And seeing how fast Tencent WeChat payment is growing, that would be your second natural option.
10 – SEO
Once your website is ready, you will need to submit it to Baidu creating a Baidu Webmaster Tools account (only available in Chinese). That way Baidu will be able to index the site properly and your great Chinese adventure starts!
Search engine optimization done in Baidu is not so very different as the one you could do for Google. Anyway, we would like to note a few differences I think you need to know:
– Meta description – unlike Google and Bing, Baidu still uses Meta descriptions as a ranking factor. Keyword targeted description match users’ queries and their demands, which would help with the click through rate (CTR).
– Indexation – Baidu’s web crawling bot, Baiduspider, is not as advanced as the one from Google. As a result, you will need to help Baiduspider to discover and index your pages in different ways. Without mentioning that you can go to sleep and wake up with huge traffic losses or de-indexed pages usually caused by a penalization. Be careful what you do!
– Link building – On Baidu, it is not about the quality of the publishers’ website, it is more about the unique relevancy of the content (as it relates to your content) and the quantity of links to your pages. Baidu penalizes duplicate content and it also disallows irrelevancy. Authority and quality of the publisher is not that important (for now). In short, the more the merrier as long as it is not duplicate.
– Baidu services – Baidu offers a lot of different products apart of Search; use them and leverage their integrated marketing power. The most useful are Baidu Zhidao (questions and answers service) and Baidu Baike (Wiki service), but there are tons of other services that might be helpful to increase brand awareness and for content creation.
As for the tracking, most people use Baidu Tongji and/or Google Analytics. Yes, you read it well; Google Analytics still works in China and it is the only Google service that still does. You will find many detractors, but for what we have seen there is no huge discrepancies between the data collected by both systems (usually not higher than 5%). And Google Analytics has more functionalities than Baidu Tongji.
It is also important to mention the typography. Chinese language is not easy to read due to the difficulty associated to its typography. With 40,000 characters, they are divided in strokes which amount can vary between 1 and 60. Therefore the font size should be at least 12px.
At 2 Open, we would be pleased to help you.Take the advantages the Chinese market offers.
With the cooperation of our Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Agency, China will be at your fingertips.
Do not hesitate to visit us We´d loved to hear from you!
This article has been edited by Paula Vicuña, from 2 Open.
There are plenty of Social Media platforms in China: while a few achieve great success, many succumb to a highly competitive scenario.
Result of its dynamism, it is essential to keep attention on the changes that China faces in the digital world.
From 2 Open, we have prepared a brief introduction about Weibo´s current situation.
Our goal is to give you some tips to fully understand what is going on with one of the biggest Chinese Social Media.
Do not hesitate to contact us for a more thorough analysis!
Weibo is a Social Media platform to produce, share and find out Chinese-language content.
As a leading platform, provides an easy way to express in real time and interact with people and corporations.
Its importance is not only due to its capacity to be an official/unofficial news source, but also because it allows people to express themselves in a public way.
The doomsayers come into the picture
Currently, Alibaba is the biggest Chinese e-commerce company: it provides C2C, B2C and B2B sales services via web portals, plus electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services.
Three years ago, Alibaba bought 18% stock of Weibo. Since then, several media have speculated that Weibo or even Sina might be acquired by Alibaba in a short time.
Encouraged by the rise of Wechat, many marketers have predicted the fall of Weibo. Well, the latest Earnings report proves they were wrong.
Is Weibo on the way out? Let the Earnings speak the truth
According to official Earnings Report of 2016 Q2 from Sina Weibo, the Net profit of 25.9 million dollars (net revenues of $ 146.9 million) increased 516% compared to the same period last year.
Moreover, Weibo 2016 Q2 data shows the Total revenue of Weibo is 146.9 million, including 127.2 million revenue from Advertising business, value-added services $ 19.7 million for value-added services.
Let’s review the users’ data on Weibo now
Monthly Active Users –MAU- is 282 million, increase 33% compared to the same period of last year. In addition, Daily Active Users –DAU- is 126 million with 36% increase compared to same period of last year.
Is noteworthy that 89% of them are mobile users.
The progress is closely related to their own media advantage
Three years ago, relying on its social communication advantages, Weibo attracted $ 600 million of Alibaba, while became an effective channel for celebrity campaigns, events, marketing and other commercial activities.
After that, Weibo focused on the advertising model. At the end, it decided to put aside Alibaba and manage the business alone.
In 2016 Q1, advertising investment from small and medium enterprises increased 147%. The quantity of SME’s and self-service advertisers reached 830K with 25% increase compared to previous quarter.
In 2016 Q1, investment in small and medium advertising revenue grew 147%, the number of SMEs and self-service advertisers reached 830,000 and a 25% increase the previous quarter.
Why both SMEs and big brands value Weibo a lot?
Both leverage it as an important channel frequently, specially because:
- Increase of traffic and users with 282 million MAU
- Optimized Algorithm of Ad Platform
- Active Internet Celebrities
The outbreak of short videos
We should add that speaking of its development path, the outbreak of short videos is also a milestone of growth of Weibo.
According to the 2016 Q2 Earning report, the playback amount of short videos on Weibo has increased 200%.
Meanwhile, the Internet celebrity economy is rapidly booming. Based on short videos, live-streaming broadcast and e-commerce, Weibo occupies the core position of social media with its incredible social power.
Margin improvement for future
The operating leverage will keep being prominent in the future. Based on the non-GAAP, the operating Margin rate of Weibo was 23.6% in the second quarter.
It is expected that the Weibo´s operating Margin rate could reach 25.2% in the third quarter, 23.4% in 2016 financial year, and 28.7% in 2017 financial year.
After seven years, Weibo proves to the world its strength and influence.
Do you still think Weibo is on the way out?
Our Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Agency have the experience of a team dedicated to know in depth the Chinese Social Media.
If you are looking to push your sales in China, do not hesitate to contact us.
Moreover, if you are interested in receiving to your mail the latest trends of Chinese Social Media, please suscribe to our monthly Newsletter!
This article has been edited by Paula Vicuña, from 2 Open.
It is almost August and tourists are everywhere. From 2 OPEN we are pleased to give you some basic steps to acquire Chinese Tourists through Digital Marketing.
Since 2013, the number of Chinese outbound travel population and tourism consumption both already ranked the world’s first.
In the next few years, Chinese outbound tourism consumption market will continue to maintain high growth speed: 174 million Chinese people will choose to travel abroad, and the amount of consumption will be around 264 billion US dollars in the year 2019 by estimation.
Chinese tourists has become the “cash cow” of global travel industry
This prosperity is due to the increase of urban population and disposable income, the rise of the middle class, RMB appreciation, the gradually liberal visa policy and the increase of international flight routes have given rise to the empowerment of as a yet undeveloped sector.
What kind of travel products do Chinese tourist usually choose when travelling?
When travelling, Chinese tourists mainly choose to travel with tour guide, both group package and/or flight + hotel. Even if travelling without guidance is still scarcely used, it is a fast leading trend and a great opportunity of future.
Which Channels do Chinese tourism use to purchase travel products?
Even if traditional travel agencies are still the most popular, every day more Chinese opt to book though Online travel agencies, such as Ctrip and Qunar. It is highly likely that its importance grow each year.
How Chinese travelers spread their feeling about their country-destination?
The consumption of Social Networks in China is massive. Either through posts or instant messaging, the power of “Word of Mouth” is overwhelming.
From 2 Open, we suggest you paying attention to online platforms in any plan to approach the Chinese market.
Which channels do Chinese people use to search touristic-information?
Either through an Agency´s Website or through Social Media, Chinese travelers love using new technologies to discover places, compare tariffs and share their experiences abroad.
What do Chinese travelers suggest for information channel?
So, What can you do to attract more potential Chinese tourist to your destination?
From 2 OPEN we suggest you some ideas before starting your approach to China:
- Build a Website:
To set up a Chinese Website, this must be hosted in China (-cn domain). It would be necessary to make it consistent with Chinese search engine´s standards and be entirely written in Mandarin.
From 2 OPEN we strongly suggest you to take advantage of new technologies –Big Data- to improve the user experience and target the right audience.
- Search and Display Marketing:
Baidu, the biggest Chinese search engine, is essential on any approach to Chinese digital market. Your site should be well-ranged on Baidu´s search engine to let Chinese tourist find you.
In 2 OPEN we have the expertise to deal with SEO or SEM campaigns, in order to help you to gain visibility and target potential customers.
- Social Media:
Social networks are the most used channels in China. Try to attract users to your official accounts –WeChat and Weibo– by posting travel news and proposals to people. Start your Social Media plan with our help!
- Key Opinion Leader:
To build a proper networking with Key Opinion Leaders on Social Networks can make the difference in China, and they are a very effective way to promote products and services.
- Cooperate with a third-party agency:
Online Travel Agencies -like Ctrip– provide a package of services include tickets, hotel, tourism products and car rental etc. Cooperate with them will bring you huge traffic and a great chance to sell. In addition, Online Travel Agencies let customers interact each other about trips, top destinations and advices.
From 2 Open, we encourage you to take an advantage of their social marketing impact by improving your content marketing.
In last year, China tourism O2O industry achieved great improvement. The relationship between resources and platforms become closer under the impetus of capital. Wheather through Online platform + offline resource or Online channel + offline channel, both can make the difference.
- Offline Event and Public Relations:
Traditional offline advertisement promotion can be useful in China, but very expensive. Combine Online and Offline Marketing can be the top-solution for your company.
We hope this information has been valuable and helpful to you, and we encourage you to start your approach to the huge Chinese tourism market. With our help, your company could take the great advantage online marketing offers!
Have a look to our services!
This article was edited by Paula Vicuña, from 2 OPEN.
Overview of Demand Side Platform (DSP) in China
After arriving to China in 2012, DSP has gained popularity among advertisers due to its way of changing the traditional advertising buying model, from media buying to target audience buying. It lets advertisers see their ads performance more intuitively, allowing them to change promotion strategies more efficiently. As one of the main trends in the digital advertisement development , there is no doubt that DSP will play a more important role in China’s digital marketing scene.
What is DSP?
Demand side platform (DSP) is a system that provides the technology needed to unlock the value of real time bidding (RTB) information provided by ad exchanges. There are thousands of advertisers on the Internet trying to promote their products with high-quality media, precise target audience, optimized advertising strategies and high ROI (Return On Investment). In simple terms, DSP is a service platform for advertisers, in which they can set up target audiences, delivery area and biding price etc.
RTB and Ad exchange
Real time bidding (RTB) is a digital ad buying process that allows advertisers to evaluate and bid on individual impressions. Let us pretend that the Internet is a big cobweb, where users leave traces when they are surfing on it. By using this new technology, advertisers can take all this data into consideration, and then decide the site, placement and bidding price on each ad impression. Usually, this process is completed in 120 milliseconds.
Ad exchange is like an open online advertising marketplace that lets publishers and advertisers connect with each other. You could think of it as a stock exchange; however, it works by auctioning each impression to the highest bidder.
What are the advantages of DSP?
- Wide reach: There is no limit of time and space, advertisers can show their ads when they want to show them and to any target audiences.
- Low cost: Unlike traditional media ads, DSP uses programmatic buying and charges by CPC/CPM, which gives advertisers more flexibility with their budget.
- Specific target: With the Data Management Platform (DMP) of DSP, advertisers can easily target their potential audience according to different characteristics (like age, gender, place, income, etc), this makes advertising more accurate and cost-efficient.
Challenges of DSP development in China:
- Lack of transparency
Many Chinese DSPs do not provide full transparency and access to their platforms, which makes it hard for advertisers to understand and optimize their marketing strategies. Usually, they just provide a report for advertisers after one promotion. As a matter of fact, some DSPs cannot even guarantee the stability of the system because of the lack of technical ability.
- Quality of media resources is hard to define
Usually big publishers just release leftovers from their inventory to ad exchanges, while they build their own private exchanges with premium resources. For example, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent all have their own private marketplaces, through which they sell these good ads resources to big clients at a higher price. So advertisers who want to work with DSP in China have to work very hard to find the high quality traffic.
- Accuracy of target audience is uncertain
Big companies like BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) are reluctant to share their data, and there is no mature Data Management Platform (DMP) in China yet. So most DSP companies just gather data from their own ad network, third-party ad serving, or existing software, which makes the accuracy of target audience data rather doubtful.
What is a suitable DSP?
There are four features a good DSP should have:
- Appropriate RTB capability: A good DSP must be able to decide whether to participate in the auction and what is the biding price for each impression in real time.
- Appropriate directing capability: A good DSP should have a huge Data Management Platform (DMP), through which advertises can target potential audiences more precisely.
- Appropriate data analysis capability: Be able to provide, analyze and optimize reports for advertisers, which are the most valuable part of a good DSP.
- Appropriate technical capability: A successful campaign on real-time bidding (RTB) system depending mainly on the algorithm and matching model of a good DSP.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo from 2Open.