5 Key Differences of Western and Chinese Websites


Have you noticed the differences between the western and Chinese websites especially on layout and designs? These will give you hints on localization strategies.

Have you noticed the differences between the western and Chinese websites?

Layout and designs reflect the consumer’s digital browsing habits if you’re a good observer. Distinguishing the differences will give you hints, too, on how to improve the localization strategy when it comes to UI/UX and content.

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1. The amount of information per page

One of the most significant differences between western and Chinese websites is that the latter is busier, more cluttered, and more detailed on content, making sure that the visitors can read and browse everything they need on a page.

But western websites are cleaner, and they maximize the white spaces on the content. They provide an overview or highlight of their products and services using short, punchy texts.

For example, Amazon’s minimalistic and less scroll layout (left pic above) look enticing to the western audience with a simple layout of content, photos, and short descriptions. When you look at Taobao, China’s leading e-commerce platform, you get to browse and read more texts, advertisements, flashy pop-up ads, and more scroll.

2. The page length

When you browse the English version of Amazon and compare it with the Chinese version, the latter is longer than the former; in addition to the huge amount of information you see on the page.

The Chinese version provides more content, making the page longer – texts, images, pop-up ad, links, and more.

3. Categorization of content

You’ll also notice the differences between YouTube and Youku. The former has three main categories for users—Home, trending, subscriptions. It’s simple and straightforward, right?

However, on Youku, one of China’s popular video platforms, you’ll see the 21 categories on the menu – from Homepage to tourism and the drop-down has sub-categories.

4. Full of colorful designs, pop-ups, and ads

One of the best practices in web design for the western audience is the consistency of the branding such as the hex colors of buttons, ads, font color, size and font face.

But when it comes to Chinese websites, you sometimes break these rules and instead use colorful, flashy graphics to draw attention. Banners have different sizes and striking colors.

Above are screen grabs of Skyscanner’s website in English and Qunar, one of China’s popular online ticketing site. Do you see the differences?

Qunar has a longer page compared to Skyscanner; the content and links are crammed into one page

5. QR codes are indispensable CTAs

QR codes are the most important elements – as call-to-action buttons – on Chinese websites and apps. It’s a nuisance to type the Chinese characters on the URL, scanning a code using a mobile phone makes it more convenient to download an app, opt-in for a particular subscription, follow an account, or get promotional deals.

An example is the Skyscanner’s English version and the Chinese website. You’ll see the huge difference where they emphasize the QR code as a CTA for the viewer to download the app.

Fascinating differences between western and Chinese websites. How can we help you on website localization?

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