As 2017 has just started, it is a great time to talk about predictions and trends in the Chinese online market for the coming year. As a leading full service digital marketing agency, specializing in helping companies that are looking to enter China and/or those that are already operating in the Chinese market, we want to share with you some of our observations of what will be trending in this new year.
Online shopping is on its rise all over the world, and the Chinese market is no exception. According to the CIH report the number of online shoppers on WeChat alone doubled from 15% to 30% since 2015. As the data suggests, having an online presence in the Chinese market will give tremendous growth opportunities for any type of business and in every industry. Nevertheless, some of the businesses are still missing the chance to get a large portion of revenue from online sales by either forgoing online presence at all or leaving their position in a poor state and condition.
Social Media Marketing.
Social media continues to trend. At the same time the traditional channels of social marketing do not work in the Chinese online space. All the social media channels that are widely used in the Western world are blocked on the mainland of China. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter are all unavailable, thus when entering the market, make sure you are familiar with all the channels that can be used. The importance of WeChat cannot be overstated.
The WeChat channel is not only about communications, but is an e-commerce platform as well. Once you have signed for WeChat, you can shop online, order a car, talk to a friend, read the news and even pay your bills. The platform became so popular as it works as a web browser with millions of accounts. Today, WeChat dominates Chinese social media, instant messaging, and mobility verticals in China. The custom functionality that a company can deploy in WeChat is limited only by one’s imagination.
Mobile, mobile, mobile!
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile extension. With the majority of Chinese internet access, the web via mobility only, the importance of a mobile-first strategy is imperative. This reality carries through to a search strategy, media campaign, design concepts and ecommerce technology.
Adapt your SEO & SEM strategy.
Baidu (the largest search engine in China) dominates China’s PC and mobile search market with a share of over 80%. It is worth mentioning that Baidus popularity is not going to change anytime soon and it is therefore crucial to have a well-defined Baidu strategy for SEO & SEM. Websites without adapted SEO & SEM will be inaccessible for Chinese customers online. How does a company win on Baidu? Have a 100% simplified Chinese website, register for an ICP, host the website within China and execute an SEO strategy similar to what one would have done on Google in 2011.