With the fastest-growing consumer market worldwide, Chinese customers are becoming a significant audience for international brands. The buying power in the Middle Kingdom is one of the highest in the world – a growing trend.
But how to best target Chinese customers and capitalize on this vast consumer base? In this article by Tenba Group, your China marketing agency, we explore the 5 key strategies to target Chinese customers and lift the potential of this booming market.
The Buying Power of Chinese Customers for Foreign Brands
To understand the buying power of the Chinese, the tourism industry is a great indicator and example. In 2019, the number of Chinese outbound tourism (166 million trips) surpassed the inbound tourism (143 million trips, creating revenue of 130 billion USD) to the Middle Kingdom. The number of Chinese outbound tourism trips increased by 43% compared to the previous year.
Industry experts estimate that spending among Chinese consumers will grow by 7.7% in the next ten years. Chinese tourists make up an enormous portion of the tourism economy for Australia, the US, and some European countries.
The 5 Top Strategies to Target Chinese Customers
With China being the largest ecommerce market in the world and having millions of people with high purchasing power, foreign brands are looking to take advantage of this market. But many of them still find it challenging to target Chinese customers. Don’t worry, we are here for you!
Knowing the needs of your Chinese audience allows your brand to understand how to effectively reach millions of potential Chinese consumers. Tap into the market stress-free with these achievable pro marketing strategies. They work. Promise! Get ready to learn the 5 most important marketing tips to reach Chinese consumers:
- Build a Chinese-Friendly Website
- Optimize for Search Engines
- Focus on Mobile Optimization
- Be Active on Local Social Media
- Improve Cultural Communication
Now, let’s dive in!
1. Build a Chinese-Friendly Website
Having a Chinese website is the key to reach your Chinese target audience. You need:
- Quality content in Chinese language
- Local website hosting (or geographically near)
- A .cn domain
When you create your content for the Middle Kingdom, you should not just translate the English version of your website and marketing materials. Make sure to take into consideration the Chinese culture of your target audience, local particularities, and business etiquette. Discover the 7 most important tips for doing business in China here.
Mainland China and Singapore use Simplified Chinese, whereas other parts of Greater China, such as in Taiwan and Hong Kong, use Traditional Chinese. If you want to target a mainland Chinese audience, you should provide your content in Simplified Chinese characters.
Writing quality content that is useful to Chinese consumers drives traffic to your website and enhances the online users’ experiences with your company. Consumers are constantly receiving information digitally, but brands that provide something of value in their content have the winning advantage.
Hosting is an extensive topic. Basically, you can choose between
- hosting in mainland China (for speed and to surpass the “Great Firewall of China“)
- using a fast cloud service in China or geographically near, e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore, or Korea
Of course, you can physically host your website anywhere in the world, but this won’t help you much with the Chinese market. Read all you need to know about hosting your website in China in this article. You should also register a “.cn” domain.
2. Optimize for Search Engines
Adapting your website to be Chinese-friendly is just half the job. To improve visibility and drive traffic to your website, make sure that your website is optimized for Chinese search engines.
Google is not accessible in China. Therefore, other search engine providers have emerged. Baidu leads this market with 65%, followed by Sogou (18%), Haosou (8%), and a few other small ones. We have put together the main dos and don’ts for Baidu SEO in this article here.
Optimizing your content to target Chinese customers will help you to reach more people in the largest and fastest-growing consumer market in the world.
Keep in mind to also optimize your content for the Chinese social media platforms you are using. Social search optimization (SSO) is emerging now. But more on that later on.
3. Focus on Mobile Optimization
In the Middle Kingdom, 98% of Chinese use the internet via mobile devices. This compares to a global average of around 50%. And out of the 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, 750 million (that’s 21%) are from China. Therefore, to effectively target Chinese customers, you should optimize your website for mobile compatibility.
Your prospective market relies heavily on smartphones and tablets to find and purchase products or services. In fact, the total ecommerce volume in China reached 2 trillion USD in 2019. And two-thirds of all consumers in the Middle Kingdom say their shopping choices are influenced by social media.
Delivering an exceptional mobile experience allows you to engage with your consumers wherever they are (mostly on-the-go) and stay ahead of your competitors.
4. Be Active on Local Social Media
The marketing strategies that are used in the West may not work with a Chinese customer base. And simply trying to replicate them sets your business up for marketing failure. That said, social media is a great way to engage locally with potential consumers.
Even though Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, are banned in China, there is a large number of social networks where you can target Chinese customers and engage with them. Read up in detail on the 9 Chinese social media platforms you absolutely must know.
Almost everyone in China uses WeChat, Sina Weibo, or Douyin/TikTok. Or all of them. Consequently, they offer amazing opportunities for businesses to digitally market to the Chinese audience.
With more than 1.1 billion monthly active users, Tencent’s WeChat is the most popular mobile app in the Middle Kingdom. The Chinese use it for virtually everything! So, a smart China marketing strategy includes this app. Share your content by utilizing modern methods like influencer marketing. With this, your content will spread exponentially, creating leads, and sales. Discover our favorite 3 social media trends in China in this article.
5. Improve Cultural Communication
Finally, it is absolutely important that you know your consumers. Besides gender, the main parameters for classification are based on age group and socioeconomic class. For instance, Chinese millennial consumers have needs that differ from those of older generations or people in a higher income class or tier.
Understanding the landscapes of the various lifestyles and behaviors in the Middle Kingdom allows your brand to authentically engage with your audience. Social media is a great way to practice cultural communication by running efficient targeting campaigns.
Chinese consumers are becoming one of the most desired customer bases by brands all over the world. The Chinese market is a significant opportunity for Western businesses to satisfy the demands of Chinese customers who love foreign brands.
It is essential for international brands to adapt their marketing strategies to target Chinese customers. If you need a helping hand with developing a website, creating a smart marketing strategy, social media presence, and more for the Chinese market, Tenba Group is here for you. Message us now to get started!