The Chinese Market is Unique and Difficult

Understanding the Chinese Market before Invest Millions… 

China is unique and different. This country is not a simple market but it is the most dynamic in the world. It has evolved under different conditions due to Chinese state restrictions and censorship. Is not the Chinese market to adapt to you but it is up to you to adapt to them.

You have to adapt your positioning, prices or promotional offer compared to the Chinese market.


Many foreign companies have failed in China, even multinationals with large investments because they have failed to adapt to the Chinese market and have faced fierce local competition.


Let’s take a concrete example:

ebay-189065_960_720Ebay had injected 100 million dollars of communication to set up in China under the name of Ebay Eachnet.

He faced a local competitor Alibaba under the name of Taobao.


Taobao had an advantage over its global counterpart since it included Chinese customers.

As a result, EBay has closed its China site, eBay EachNet, and has wiped out a company with only $ 173 million in revenue, without experience, in the online auction business.

Global communication is rarely effective in China, even with large budgets. The communication must be specifically tailored to China.

However, many companies succeed when they know how to adapt and know how to reach the hearts of Chinese people by understanding their needs.


Different Platforms

In China, we do not find Facebook, Google and other global platforms due to censorship by the Chinese government.

  • However, there is a counterpart:
  • Google is replaced by Baidu
  • Twitter is replaced by Weibo

EBay is replaced by Taobao (with many more vendors and traders) Although Chinese platforms have similar functionalities, in terms of marketing, the rules are completely different.


Different Consumers

Marketing1624The behavior of Chinese consumers is also unique and everything happens in the market of electronic commerce.

The Chinese search for products on Tmall or JD (two biggest platforms specializing in electronic sales), consult the customer services (about hardware, delivery) indispensable discussion tool for the purchase live on the platform .


On the other hand, Westerners usually search for products on Google, and then go to brand stores to place an order.


 Email (different function)

The technical configuration for email marketing in China is different. Global email providers such as Gmail or Hotmail are not accessible in China.

Because of the heavy censorship, emails sent by a foreign server may be blocked. It is therefore important for international companies to hire a local server.

You can get an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license in China that can guarantee you an important e-mail delivery rate.

How to approach Chinese consumers online?

The best way to attract Chinese consumers is through communication.

Whatever your product, you will always find competitors, so we will have to find ways to reach the hearts of the Chinese.



Building a Chinese website : Your Fondation 

capture_decran_2013-07-08_a_15.57.04It is essential to communicate well in China to have a website, or part of its site in Chinese.

This will attract Chinese more easily than if they fall on a website where they have to translate everything and interpret everything.

Moreover, all Chinese do not speak English, let alone French: if they have to hire a person who knows how to handle several languages in order to work, it can be contrary.

If the site is understandable by all the Chinese there is an advantage.

It also creates a rapprochement and proves that efforts are being made and that we are therefore credible and sure.

When a Chinese searches for something, he most definitely searches on Baidu, Chinese search engine, and with Chinese characters.

To have a better chance of being found by this person, you must have a site in Chinese.

It is important to translate its site into Chinese, but to have an English version to be associated with an International brand.


WeChat_LogoWeChat is by far the Number 1 application in China.

It’s like a handset of What’s App, Facebook and Amazon. Many Wechat users tend to activate the location service in the application, enabling brands to track their customers in real time.

When a user wanders around the store, a WeChat message can be triggered to inform him about promotions in nearby stores; Or send a promotional code that can be exchanged at a nearby store. Thus, brands are able to stimulate shop visits and increase sales

“In the Wine industry in China everybody is using Wechat, much more convenient than Email. ” Explain Victoria from French Spirit, a Wine Bottler & Merchant in China 


KOL (Key Opinion Leader)

 KOL-1024x682Using the channels mentioned above requires that companies already have their own database.

The KOLs in China are focused on industries such as fashion, cosmetics and show biz.

They collect from thousands to hundreds of millions of followers.

Many Chinese consumers check social media to get style advice and look for fashion trends.

And most of these tips on the Internet come from Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), the Chinese fashion experts.

Getting closer to Key Opinion Leaders in the field of activity will therefore help to make them speak positively about the brand and products to a large fan community.

They have thousands or even millions of followers on Chinese social media and have the power to arouse the desire of their disciple simply by posting photos or promotional publications.

  • Fashion and luxury brands in China already understand and collaborate very often.
  • Most of the time, they asked them to come to events, take pictures and publish them on their social media wall.
  • A garment or accessory displayed on a KOL account is very often exhausted in a short period of time.



KOLThomas Ye aka Gogoboi is undoubtedly the biggest Chinese fashion blogger and has a considerable influence on the Chinese population.

He was first a fashion editor in Grazia China, where he became famous for his way Simon Cowell-esque to make comments on fashion.

He actually crossed a course in 2010 when he ridiculed comedian Guo Degang for his love of wearing Givenchy and since then he has attracted the attention of the media who snatch him to entertain the audience.

The big brands love it and pays him big sums of money to publish news and comments on celebrities and new collections.


Press relations : when Chinese Media Highlight Brands 

comheat_rp_relations_presseA campaign of press relations with the Chinese media is the best way to guarantee the reputation and preservation of a good image for a foreign company.

This requires identifying the target of the campaign and the relevant media to reach it when distributing the press releases created.

You also need to be able to maintain good relationships with journalists from blogs and online magazines related to the field of your business.



In conclusion, the Chinese market is unique and constantly evolving, marketing specialists must fully understand the differences and integrate the right channels to communicate with the right audience at the right time. 

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