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How does your business fare in China?

by Alan Johnston

With Chinese New Year nearly upon us on the 16th February I wonder how many look up their fortune and see how their animal horoscope will fare in the year of the dog ?

One thing many business people completely overlook is to see how their business fares in China.

If you have a friend or colleague in China ask them to look up your business website and see how long it takes to load there. We should all know by now loading times for your website is a vital factor not only in search engine optimisation terms, but for user experience as well. We online people say ‘UX’ to sound smart, all it means is how easy your site is to use and how fast it loads making the experience better for the user. The Chinese have a firewall, and regardless of your politics and the reasons why they restrict so much Western content, this firewall is most likely slowing your website down so badly in China that most people most likely gave up and went to look at another competitors site who loads quicker because they are hosted in China, that or a cheap imitation!

Netmedia has now teamed up with Compass Edge who are the leaders in China-Western cross-cultural marketing. Since we teamed up, we ourselves realised how we have been operating in a bubble as a digital marketing consultancy operating the Biz-find sales leads directories since 2009 across Southeast Asia, we, like so many other business people with an online presence, just didn’t see the potential of the Chinese market, and we assumed we were just fine and dandy over there.

With over 1.3 billion people and with massive infiltration of the internet especially on handheld devices and with more money in the pockets as their economy grew so fast over the last 20 years, you as a business owner would be foolish to ignore this sector of the internet population.

Google and Facebook are not really options in China, China has Baidu as their main search engine and for social media they use WeChat, which is actually far more advanced in terms of business than Facebook, so much eCommerce happens on WeChat it will astound you if you have not looked lately.

Tencent may be a rich rap star to most western teenagers but he would fall over if he knew what ‘Tencent the company’ behind WeChat is worth:

Tencent, announced total revenue of $21.9 billion for its fiscal year 2016, its biggest leap since 2012, when overall sales rose by 54 percent approximately $7 billion at the time. With Q3 2017, reporting a 61% year-over-year increase in revenue to reach 65 billion yuan ($9.8 billion). That's up from the 40 billion yuan ($6 billion) in the same quarter of 2016.

Weibo which is their blogging platform where your average working Chinese with expendable income spends a lot of time on, reading blog posts written by ‘Key Opinion Leaders’ (KOL’s) who are bloggers who hold sway on many businesses with their opinions, so much so; that they can make or break marketing campaigns, even by the biggest blue-chip companies. Their readers can then follow links and purchase products and services endorsed by KOL’s through QR codes, yes, remember them? Well they are big in China and they are very efficient.

With such a growing economy, we in business in the West and certainly here in Southeast Asia who rely on Western Internet influences need to look into how to get their brand message heard on Chinese digital platforms.

Make it your mission this year to see how to open your business to the missing quarter of the internet. You may say; but Alan I have just about created a Facebook business page and got on Twitter now you want me to learn a whole new dimension? Sorry yep, it’s that or it’s time to hire a Chinese Marketing Manager for a whole lot of yen.

"gong zee fah tsai,"

I think/hope that translates to; ‘Happy and Prosperous New Year to You’ (knowing Google translate it probably says: ‘Come and destroy my new year buffet’)

Alan Johnston www.linkedin.com/in/netmedia.uk/