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The Mini Guide to China's Digital Marketing Landscape

With over 600 million internet users, 80 per cent of whom access the web via their smartphones, it’s clear to see why – the Chinese digital sector is positively booming.

According to China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), around 250 million users will access the net to watch or download video content to their phones, an increase of 83.8 per cent on 2013.

Aside from this burgeoning thirst for video, music and instant messaging among under 30s, online shopping sales have also increased markedly in the past year.

Indeed, figures from Econsultancy show ecommerce alone hit 4.4 trillion Yuan (USD 713.27 billion) by June last year, which is a significant jump of 24.3 per cent compared to the previous year.

In order to keep up with demand, then, studies have found marketers involved in Chinese ecommerce businesses will face a variety of problems and challenges along the way.

Constraints on Chinese ecommerce Sites

For those employed in digital jobs in China, the all too familiar global restrictions placed on Chinese ecommerce sites are adding to ailing conversion rate issues.

Although the traffic for many ecommerce sites is enviable, it’s been found that converting this traffic into sales is generally a pain point for many Chinese marketers.

To remedy this, ecommerce businesses are urged to build in-house sales teams, whether that’s through internal recruitment or hiring appropriate candidates via an external recruitment agency.

In addition, ecommerce sites are advised to improve product descriptions, personalise online purchases and ensure their CRM is set up to include live chat and free phone numbers, among other features.

The State of Chinese Social Media

Sina Weibo – commonly referred to as China’s Twitter – is currently considered the primary platform for Chinese social media, with most brands running their own official account.

However, the general consensus among marketers is Weibo’s influence is dwindling, with brands instead set to embrace WeChat, the latest social media trend sweeping the country.

As it stands, though, the majority of brands will avoid using an agency to take care of their various social platforms, with concerns over an agency’s “understanding of the brand” the major stumbling back.

The Importance of Mobile Marketing

Research has found very few Chinese brands are embracing mobile marketing in the right way, although its importance, given the sheer volume of mobile users, is certainly recognised.

For most, the main sticking points are how they combine mobile marketing into their current digital strategy, and how they can go about monetising the app.

Considering the apparent decline of Weibo, many brands will take to WeChat, attempting to personalise messages to their customers to avoid perceptions from their users as producing spammy content.