China has the world’s largest population of smartphone users. The internet economy was worth roughly $6.72 trillion USD in 2021. China is also a very dynamic society and trends on the internet are always changing and differ between demographics. However, with a little guidance there are many overarching trends that can be used effectively by digital marketers.
E-Commerce And M-Commerce In China
E-Commerce and m-Commerce has always been a huge market in China and ever-growing. However, with the pandemic and China’s strict policy, this growth has accelerated and does not seem to be slowing down. In raw numbers, China is the largest e-Commerce market by a large margin. Consumers in China have contributed to $1535B USD in sales compared to the US in second place at $875B USD. Similarly, as most consumers in China interact with the internet through their phones, m-Commerce’s share of the total e-Commerce spending has risen exponentially.
The main players in China’s e-Commerce space are Taobao, T-mall and JD.com. These three make up a large majority of the sales in the country. Recently, smaller players like Xiaohongshu and SHEIN are gaining traction with a more niche approach to selling products online.
Main Social Media And Evolutions Overtime
The go-to social media platform in China is WeChat, which can be thought of as an all-in-one app that contains powerful social media features, payment features and allows third party e-Commerce options integrated right into the app. WeChat is a very powerful marketing tool, but it is important to not ignore Weibo, China’s Twitter, and Youku which is a video streaming platform.
Recently, niche social media platforms have also started to become relevant. Bilibili started out as a platform geared towards anime and video game fans and is now growing at a speedy rate as these niches gain popularity. Marketers can use Bilibili to target millennials that are interested in this particular culture. Similarly, Xiaohongshu is also a niche site, geared towards women. This site allows users to build Pinterest like boards that can then be shared within the community. Like all social media sites in China, they integrate seamlessly into the e-Commerce and payment platforms.
Lastly, no marketer should ignore one of the biggest social media sites that is taking over the world – TikTok or its Chinese parent, Douyin. Douyin is a social media site where users and brands post short form videos and has the fastest growing user base not only in China, but elsewhere in the world too. If you are short of time to create content, you may consider hiring a Chinese social media agency like Alarice who know the platform from the inside out.
How To Promote Your Products And Services Thanks To KOL
Brand marketing with KOLs is immensely popular in China with all social media sites having verified accounts of KOLs or influencers. This is especially true for TikTok. Make sure that your brand and product is aligned with the KOL that you partner with for success. So, if you are a makeup brand, get in touch with KOLs that create beauty content. Additionally, all the social media sites have their own platforms to connect with and do business with the KOLs which makes it a relatively easy process to navigate.
Keeping track of trends and selecting the right channels to reach your target audience are essential for successful marketing in China. The trends are always changing and can vary across social media sites. Leveraging these trends to the particular demographics that you are targeting is important. This may be budgeting more money for e-Commerce sites popular in smaller cities or creating content on social media sites that cater mostly to young consumers.