3 Smart Chinese Online Marketing Strategies Global Companies Use


Almost half of China’s total population are now using 4G. The Ministry of Science and Technology announced that there were 734 million 4G users in 2016 and 5G operations are expected to roll out in 2020.

In China (and around the world), users have adopted the mobile lifestyle because of the convenience it brings. Shop, read, browse, watch movies – you can almost do anything with these handy devices. That’s why it’s necessary for global companies to include mobile-focused online marketing strategies.

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Global brands that target Chinese customers know how critical it is for their businesses to localized their online marketing strategies especially in context, language, communication channel, and culture. In these post, you will learn from famous international brands on how they’re engaging with Chinese consumers and see the aftermath of their efforts.

Build community via forums

lancome rose beauty campaign china

Lancôme, the famous cosmetics brand from France, is included in China’s top 20 cosmetics brand according to China Internet. The company started introducing the luxury cosmetics in mega cities and then expanded its operations in low-tier cities. Lancôme is also one of the pioneers on Chinese Internet by engaging with customers using the local social media networks Weibo, WeChat, Kaixin, and RenRen.

And by leveraging from the community influencers – they share photos of the quality of products and videos – which resulted in a solid brand image among online communities. The company set up an online forum called Rose Beauty with 4 million users where consumers and professional artists alike are active and sharing about beauty tips, products, and events.

Taking the O2O (online to offline) strategy via WeChat

WeChat is like the Swiss army knife of social media in China. In one of Economist’s articles in 2016, the media publisher dubbed it as the “social media of the future,” and I agree. You can almost do anything in the app, without ever going out from the app itself, whether it’s shopping online, booking a movie ticket, chatting, video, hailing a taxi and even paying bills or sending money to a friend.

Many global companies are taking advantage of this app where they apply online to offline mobile strategies to engage with customers. Uniqlo, (as one of my favorite brands and I also follow their WeChat page) understood well that their target consumers are relatively digitally mobile savvy.

Uniqlo launched their “Style your Life” campaign where customers can try clothes at their stores and then take a photo in front of monitors equipped with cameras that have different backgrounds like global cities New York, Tokyo, and London. The photos were sent to their WeChat, and 1/3 of these users shared it on their Moments (it’s like the news feed), resulting in an increase of 30% sales and also a growth of 40000 followers to 1 million. Now that’s what you call, virality.

Engaging on localized social media networks

Have you ever wondered how a western taste coffee company succeeded in a country where citizens are traditionally tea drinkers? Starbucks has experienced its ups and downs for the past years, yet is now one of the biggest and most successful companies in China today.
With the rise of middle class and also their increase of income, Starbucks capitalized on these opportunities by localizing the Starbucks experience; and also the most valuable tool in today’s digital era: creating a social media buzz.

The company joined WeChat is 2012 and has encouraged the customers to interact with their friends online. What’s more, it also set up a Weibo account to engage with customers that have more than 500 million users. From its inception, the company created a culture of “sharing online,” encouraging customers to interact using the hashtag, #starbucks# socially.

Chinese companies are taking advantage of WeChat’s features, too, via QR codes where they use that as their sales pipeline to build loyalty among customers by making pre-payments and discount prices.

Takeaway thought

Whether you’re a startup or small business company, the success stories of these famous companies are not only inspiring but also doable and replicable if you spend ample amount of time getting to know your customers. While there is no guarantee that you will succeed overnight (and rarely this happens), what is important is patience and hard work and exposure to online marketing China.

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