Introduction of Marketing Strategies in China


With its massive population and mushrooming business opportunities, China attracts a lot of foreign companies. However, China market is evolving rapidly, hence you need to continually re-assess your China marketing strategies to help raise the image and reputation of your business if you want to approach Chinese audience.


What are major marketing strategic tools in China currently?

1.Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing in China is vigorous and developing rapidly. Data from Analysys shows, China’s mobile marketing ads was expected to reach CNY149.32 billion in 2016, which is 65% up compared with previous year. Search ads took the biggest share of the mobile marketing in China, with 40.5% of the market share in 2015.

Also, mobile payment has become an important section in the O2O (online to offline) retail industry in China. In order to bring more digital consumption experience for consumers, mobile payment was incorporated in many companies’ marketing strategies, including Alipay and WeChat payment.


2.Big Data Marketing

The popularity of big data has changed the traditional marketing mode, and big data marketing is leading the trend of China advertising industry. The advantages of big data marketing are the combination of data and media, with the fuel of customer orientation, precise audience targeting, lower cost, the link between online and offline, more proactive marketing, as well as the break of the limits of time and space.


3.Programmatic Ad Buying

Programmatic ad buying typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. Programmatic ad buying can meet the marketing needs of Internet advertising more easily, with four main advantages, including wider platforms, precise audience targeting, digging users’ characteristics, and establishing interaction with audience. In China, programmatic ad buying has grown fast in recent years, and reached CNY10.47 billion in 2015, which is 100.2% up from 2014. With the booming of mobile internet, increasingly more companies in China start up the programmatic ad buying on mobile, resulting in the explosive growth of mobile programmatic buying.



SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential in China market, and it’s also a long-term strategy that you should make use of to gain permanent benefits. When improving your company’s SEO in China, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Although Google is the world’s favored search engine, this is not the case in China market. Baidu, Chinese version of Google, is the leading search engine in China. A large range of services and products are offered by Baidu, including pay-per-click advertising, web search, news search, image search, music search, video search, Zhidao (question and answer), Baike (Wiki), Tieba (Post bar), etc.


5.Social Media Marketing

Social network has become an important way for people to obtain information in China. If you want to use digital marketing to accelerate your business expansion in China market, social media marketing is a good choice. As most marketers know, marketing to Chinese audience is not exactly like that to those in other countries. Due to the block from Chinese government, you won’t be able to rely on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in China. China has its own brand of social media, such as WeChat, Sina Weibo, Qzone, Youku, etc.

These social media feature real time reactions and help marketers interact with users in a creative manner. Even with limited budget, companies or brands can communicate with target consumers via real time marketing tools.


6.Email Marketing

Email marketing is marketing by directly sending a commercial message included in a email, typically to a group of people. It can be applied in different types of emails, including transactional emails, direct mail (EDM), and mobile email marketing. Under the circumstance of a stable and competitive travel market in China, it certainly stimulates a great potential to get email marketing applied in China’s tourism industry. According to the data from Webpower, the average delivery rate of EDM in China’s tourism industry was 97.01%, with an average unique opening rate of 6.31%. Moreover, in China’s tourism industry, the average delivery rate and opening rate of EDM vary with the season and vacation time.


7.Content Marketing

China’s Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focusing on creating and delivering relevant, valuable and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, to ultimately generate profitable customer actions. Although differences exist in both Chinese audiences’ behavior and platforms, the process for realizing content marketing is the same as in Europe or in the United States. If you refer to the content marketing in China, three important aspects should be considered. Firstly, you should attract Chinese audience with the content which can stimulate their interests and drive their sharing intentions. Secondly, you should create customized content for your fans, by the means of gathering people who share common interests, and meanwhile build the brand communities. Lastly, by staying in touch with social culture, you are staying relevant with your audience.


8.Marketing with Technology

H5 is one of hottest keywords in recent years in China market. Nowadays, HTML5 page has become a must for many companies’ mobile marketing in China, while WeChat is a main platform for H5 marketing.

VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) marketing were expected to break out in 2016 in China market. BMW Mini launched the AR glasses to assist in driving, and also introduced two 360° VR videos in Guangzhou Car Show to create an interesting experience for consumers.


9.Influencer (KOL) Marketing

Influencers,also known as key opinion leader (KOL) are those who can really affect purchasing decisions of Chinese audience who are targeted by the brand. Brands usually prefer popular and influential bloggers or super stars. The influential bloggers often have some insight into trends and certain professional qualities.



SCRM (Social CRM) covers the function of marketing/public relations, sales and customer service. The main advantages of SCRM is that it can help the company monitor the trend of brand, competitive products or services, and target Chinese audience in social network, realizing a precise marketing as well as real-time response to the customers..


11.Crossover Marketing

Crossover means the cooperation between two different industries, brands or products, which can more easily draw consumers’ attention. The application of crossover marketing will successfully enhance brands’ awareness through two brands’ joint promotion.



Nowadays, many young Chinese audience pursue personalized products, and they cannot be satisfied if provided with homogenous products. In such situation, many brands have started to provide one-of-a-kind experience to their customers. For example, Adidas, Nike, and New Balance created tailor-made shoes for customers with 3D-printed technology application on their shoes.


13.Marketing by Live Platforms

Marketing by live platforms is to make and broadcast programs on the spot along with the development of the event. It is usually carried out by live platforms, which enables the companies to enhance their brands or promote their sales.

As an important and creative form of marketing, marketing by live platforms can also reflect the features of online videos. The advantages are as follows:

Firstly, marketing by live platforms is a kind of event marketing, which can get more active social interactions resulting from news and advertising effects. It can more easily attract audience’s attention.

Secondly, it can accurately reflect the profile of user groups. Users need to enter the live page at a specific time to watch live videos. The limit of broadcasting time helps to identify the user groups with their loyalty precisely analyzed.

Thirdly, marketing by live platforms allows brands to interact with users in real time. The biggest advantage of online videos is that it not only allow users to watch the videos, but also motivate them to make comments.

Lastly, it can realize deeper communications between brands and users, and hence achieve emotional resonance. Live videos, as a broadcasting form with the sense of ritual, can gather a group of people who share same interests, because their emotions can affect each other.


In spite of so many marketing tricks, there are always some basic rules for conducting an effective marketing strategy?

Before you develop a marketing strategy in China, the international risk factors should be considered, including cultural differences, language issues and local legislation.

Moreover, it’s also important to understand the strategic approaches to enter China market, meaning business need to assess the market and competition, for choosing appropriate entry options and initiatives.

There’s no doubt that marketers must make the best of this golden opportunity and deploy the most effective marketing strategies in order to establish a firm position in China market. Some considerations should be taken into account in the process of launching China marketing strategies.


1.Do Market Research

It is vital to carry out a thorough market research before investing significant time and resources to promote brands in China market. General information concerning China market is very easy to find through network, yet further market information need to be collected through desk research. Local statistical bureaus, government websites, local industry associations, third party sector reports and reports by consultancies and research agencies are all useful materials.

Use information about Chinese audiences’ demography, behavioral patterns and preferences etc. to understand your target Chinese audience


2.Find the Right Partners

The right marketing partners should not only be savvies in marketing area, but also have many insights in terms of the industries. For example, in 2013, UCWeb, teamed up with Evernote in a ‘marketing partnership’ to help this US company gain a deeper understanding of Chinese mobile web consumers in advance of its official China launch later that year. These strategic relationships may not be traditional, but they have delivered positive results for all involved parties.


3.Cultural Immersion

It is critically important, particularly in consumer markets, that companies take time to fully understand the needs and preferences of local Chinese audiences, which are often influenced by China’s unique cultural factors.

Moreover, in order to understand the vast and complex Chinese business landscape, you must see and experience China by yourself. In addition to first-hand knowledge of Chinese business, it may trigger your creativity so that you can develop unique approaches for your different segments in China market.


4.Marketing Communication

Like in any other market, customer is the most important consideration when preparing your China marketing strategy of communication. Whether you are targeting local Chinese audiences or businesses, you should ensure that marketing messages are translated into Chinese and transmitted through Chinese language channels. Every business should have their marketing materials, such as flyers, product brochures, technical data sheets etc. translated into Chinese.

Communication Approach When to Use
Exhibitions and conferences Regularly but strategically, to contact with new customers and to maintain brand awareness in the market.
Email After initial contact has been established, send an email to introduce the company, including specific products and services that they may be of interests, with more details conveyed.
Website An easily found, easily navigated and easily understood website is essential at all points during the ‘sales process’ and beyond. A good site will be visited by customers again and again before, during and after the sales.
Online media Business networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Tianji, can be used for online promotion purpose, whilst blogging sites can be used effectively for advertising products and as a forum to collect market feedbacks.
Face-to-face meetings This is essential, but only under the right circumstances. Meetings in the work places should be used to further develop the business relationship, once the potential customer has shown some interests. Deals will almost be closed in face-to-face meetings.
Post Direct mail can be an effective way to stimulate initial interests of customers. Chinese people are usually more receptive to direct mails than most Westerners.
Networking It facilitates business to do marketing at all times. Attending relevant events will help to strengthen business relationships to a large degree.

Marketing via video is no more something new in branding. From WeChat to TMall, pages with videos not only get more clicks, but also get more business leads. Why? The story in a video drives a brand’s recognition and motivates page viewers to get engaged the first time they see it. Next time when consumers search a product in an online shopping mall like TMall, they still remember the story as well as the brand.5.Go Live, Go Video

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