If you are thinking of starting to market your product in China, you must know the Chinese market’s rules and norms. Furthermore, you need to adapt to the Chinese market and give up the Western mindset.
Here is the guide on how to shape your marketing efforts for the Chinese market.
The largest market in the world
The Chinese economy expects to grow at 5.5% in 2021, and China is one of the only countries with a positive growth during the pandemic. Besides selling internationally, the large population and the rising middle-class are pushing the national market to develop, and the eCommerce market in China is now one of the most important in the World.
Thanks to a rising market and innovative marketing strategies, China is shaping the future of the e-economy. Indeed, KOL marketing, live sales on social networks and aggressive sale techniques are common practices, and they start to spread in the Western markets.
You’ve probably heard about the “Chinese Black Friday”, the so-called Double 11 and the new record registered by Alibaba. In 2020, during the pandemic, Alibaba double its 2020’s record with over US$74 billion sales, with 250000 brands and 800 million consumers participating.
Chinese social media played a huge role in this campaign and the industry is expected to grow in the future. Actually, China is a country where 56% of eCommerce sales are made from mobile devices.
The Chinese market has a fascinating consumer dynamic involving different consumer behaviors, expectations, understanding of the product, and education.
Understanding the China eco-system is a key for foreign investors and corporations who are willing to sell in China.
The strategies to enter the Chinese market
Run a market analysis
To sell in China, analyzing the market is essential. The marketing strategy or pricing methodology that a brand use in the West might not apply in China. Understanding the Chinese consume behaviors by defining a segmentation, their psychographics, their average spending, and highlighting the trends are the first steps of a successful campaign in China.
Since the Chinese market is entirely different from the Western market, any business should never mistake to enter the Chinese market with the same business model.It is essential to consider the cultural aspects, the legal structure or the means of payments consumers use.
For instance, WeChat Pay and Alipay are widely spread in China.
Try out different strategies to be observed for pricing like skimming, penetration, product line, and premium pricing.
Characteristics and demographics
For market segmentation and brand positioning, characteristics and demographics of the prospective market are crucial especially in China where cities are organised by tiers, which has an important impact on the daily life of the Chinese, and therefore, their habits.
For instance, consumer profile noticing will change from a tier to another. A female between 20-35 years, usually spends more money on online shopping if she is from tier-1 city like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.
The strategies to sell in China
Influencer in the West are widely used by brands to sell on social media but it’s nothing compared to China. Indeed, the so-called KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) have been the best breeding ground for the recommendation of products.
In China, WeChat, Douyin, and other Chinese social media platforms are utilized by the local KOLs to interact with their audiences and run livestream shows to introduce products.
The consumer can buy and trust your product if you use such a channel but understanding the way they work is an asset to increase your reach.
Baidu is “the Chinese version of Google” and to get visibility on the main search engine in China (+60% market shares), reading Chinese is not the only skill a Western brand must have.
Unlike Google, Baidu promote its own services in search results. Knowing how Baidu ranks products and its algorithms are keys to leverage this advertising strategy.
Like in the West, selling on market places can be an option to enter the Chinese market.
As Amazon and eBay are the most common in the West, the two most selling platforms in China are owned by Alibaba: Taobao & Tmall. These are the most used stores in China that will help you get what you want. Brands can start selling right away by being visible on the Chinese largest eCommerce platform.
Selling products in the largest market in the world is achievable but requires analysis. Learning Chinese customer behaviors and the rules to market your products are essentials.