If you’re planning on trying to crack the Chinese market, Chinese marketing agency Digital Jungle has pulled together these digital media trends to watch out for in the digital and social media sphere.
Social media still reigns
Social media is the key form of online communication for the Chinese. Once online, media becomes consumed and then regurgitated into a conversation. The collectivist nature of the Chinese means that sharing opinions and information through commenting, microblogging, instant messaging, commenting and writing reviews, forms a large proportion of their social media activity. With 300 million active Chinese users, Wechat is arguably the most popular social media. Online video popularity is also increasing; in October 2014 Youku’s mobile app exceeded 80 million unique visitors in one week. The $1.1 billion US dollar online video market is only forecasted to increase. The popularity and use of mediums are changing. For 2015 identify what your current consumers and target audience are using, to ensure you are focused on building the right platform.
Eighty-three percent of China’s total Internet users access the web from their mobile devices, with the majority spending between one and four hours online daily. Increasing by 27 million since 2013, mobile Internet users have surpassed the number of desktop users. In 2015, the Chinese will continue to use their mobiles to communicate, be entertained, to bank, book travel, shop and pay for goods, and usage will no doubt escalate. With a staggering mobile movement, it is important to be well equipped to meet the needs of Chinese consumers. Always keep your social media channels updated, and ensure your website works smoothly on all mobile systems. It will be even more important to keep your content fresh, with new material to keep users coming back. More importantly, the majority of Chinese do not currently reject mobile advertising. Get creative, and use the rising popularity of video to make engaging but effective content to gain results.
This year showed the world that Chinese consumers are out to spend, particularly on luxury goods, overseas education and international travel. However, a shift in attitudes will motivate the emergence of the conscious Chinese consumer, one who is interested in purchasing guilt-free goods and services and aligning themselves with brands who can provide this. Poor wages and working conditions, air pollution and climate change are all negative effects of consumerism that the Chinese recognise and are concerned about. Alongside buying popular, trendy brands, consumers will look to purchase with a healthier, safer, ethically and environmentally friendly mindset. Think about how your brand and product is ‘good’ and emphasise this in your 2015 strategy. Can consumers feel guilt-free, contribute to the community or help charity by engaging with your brand? Be genuine about how you market this attribute; as by simply green-washing consumers you could be caught red-handed.
Emergence of Chinese brands
There is no mistaking the allure of Western brands on the Chinese consumer; however, the risings of Chinese brands are proving strong competition, and beginning to win local preferences. Wechat dominates the instant messaging apps in China, over WhatsApp, Viber or Facebook Messenger. Xiomi, a young Chinese smartphone company, may have entered the game relatively late in 2010, it is the third-largest smartphone maker following Apple and Samsung. Uber is finding it difficult to crack the taxi app market, with local Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache holding 99% of market share in China. Unsurprisingly, these Chinese innovations are well suited to the Chinese and accommodate values, preferences and behaviours that a Western competitor might not immediately understand. The attitude that a Western brand will be the first choice for consumers will result in poor adoption of your brand in China. The Chinese do not want to be Western; they want a brand, products and services to meet their everyday needs for function, style and status. For 2015, focus on building a brand personality and brand connections, forming a digital strategy that is personable and relatable to the Chinese.