How to Use Emails in China Business Development


We’re living in fast times. Everything is instant.

Instant messaging. Instant noodles. Instant reply. And when sending emails, it’s advisable to keep it short, simple, and straightforward.

In China, people prefer to communicate via Instant Messenger. Emails are not as trendy like in the west. But it doesn’t mean emails are useless. In fact, emails are important, especially for business development.

Here are some tips if you have targeted the right niche market and wanted to increase the chances of your email to be opened, viewed, and replied.

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Customize, customize

A custom email with the recipient’s name on it is likely to get read or viewed. While email automation provides perks such as efficiency and speed for promotional style email outreach, adding a personal touch and segmentation – age, group, and job title – is a sure win.

For example, in China, surnames come first before the name, so consider which is which when addressing the recipient. If not sure, ask.

Takeaway insider tip: Aside from the typical “Hello,” customize the email and make the recipient feel you know something about him or her (e.g. First name, the company, a recent article or event that is relevant on your pitch, etc.). Customize and find common ground to connect.

Use an enticing email subject title

A well-crafted and enticing subject line will increase the chances of getting your email opened. Be careful with word choices. Good subject lines also lessen the possibility of getting your email marked as spam.

Takeaway insider tip: Work with a professional Chinese digital marketer to help you create that subject line and translate your email. We also recommend that you should know the anti-spam rules or guidelines.

Here’s your checklist:

  1. Balance the text and image ratio.
  2. Links should direct to the proper source; avoid bad links
  3. Subject line is short and simple
  4. Avoid spammy and sensitive words

Go mobile and apply send-time optimization

There are more than 700 million users in China, and most of them are browsing the internet via mobile phones. Always “think mobile” when sending emails and even B2B newsletters.

  1. Keep it short, direct and use visual content if relevant, especially on “cold call” emails.
  2. Be sensitive with time—schedule it and send it early morning to increase the chances of being opened. According to Sophie Ao, the “gold times” to send emails are 8:00 – 9:00 AM, and 3:00 – 4:00 PM.

Emails that are send-time optimized can increase 31% of the open rate and 38% of the click-through rate based on Alternative Apparel email test.

Takeaway insider tip:

Hire an on-demand translator and proofreader to check your emails. A second set or even a third set of eyes will provide a polish, localized, and relevant email. It’s an investment in today’s instant lifestyle.

Nothing beats a personalized email with your recipient’s name on it.

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