In this second installment of a three-part series, WPIC Marketing + Technologies reviews essential steps that brands need to take to expand business to China and tackle the Chinese market effectively and profitably.
As attractive as the APAC market is, it does come with its fair share of administrative procedures, some of which can complicate a global brand’s entry. Here are the next three steps to consider if and when a brand is eyeing expansion into China.
Make the brand’s website accessible
As a result of the Great Firewall, which both limits and regulates the domestic Internet within the borders of the PRC, a website in China behaves and loads differently than a website anywhere else in the world. In most cases, coding on sites hosted outside of China will be rendered extremely slow, particularly if it links to social media or Google Analytics. This, in turn, creates a negative user experience for target customers in China who, like their Western counterparts, expect sites to load nearly instantaneously. Companies entering the market would do well to ensure that they understand the technical requirements behind hosting in China before launching products there.
Choose the right e-commerce strategy
Many readers will be familiar with the two main e-commerce platforms in China — Tmall and JD. Combined, these two mammoth online retailers account for over 80 per cent of retail e-commerce sales in China. While Tmall and JD certainly need to form a significant part of an e-commerce strategy, they do come with significant fees and inventory requirements, some of which may prove ineffective for certain brands. Multiple other platforms exist in China, including 1688, Pinduoduo, and Vipshop, to name a few. These may be more affordable for a brand and target desired consumers more successfully.
Take ownership of the marketing
Many brands new to the Chinese online retail landscape may be tempted to allow a distributor to take care of marketing their products. However, the adage “if you want something done right, do it yourself’ applies in this context. Effective entry requires that companies take the same care of their brand that they do anywhere else in the world. Distributors in China have numerous clients and lack the time to invest wholly in a marketing strategy that delivers good returns while simultaneously keeping costs low and maintaining brand consistency across all channels. A uniform brand engenders trust with the target consumers and keeps the global presence aligned and consistent.