China is the most lucrative market in the world for brands that can successfully build a reputation and visibility. Only a small slice of the 350 million strong middle class consumer market will pay dividends.
Our agency is lucky enough to work with many entry level brands entering the Chinese market, here is a rundown of my thoughts on the huge potential for new products and services in Mainland China.
You have everything to gain
You have everything to gain. As a new brand you a starting as a non-entity and need to create and build your reputation and visibility on the Chinese internet. Progress and development is very tangible and rewarding when starting from scratch, the enormity and scale of the market should not dissuade brands from entering, it should inspire as only a small slice is required for lucrative rewards.
In China you get to start over again
In China you essentially have a closed, ‘intranet’ which is separate from the rest of the web. This results in even established names needing to market themselves on Chinese platforms. Starting over again is good for market specific branding, you can tailor and adapt your identity to better suit the Chinese consumer. What works in the west does not necessarily work in China.
The opportunity to re-brand in innovative ways
Re-branding in China is innovative, you need to embrace Chinese technological developments on platforms such as WeChat, Baidu and Weibo. You can feature QR codes on physical products to drive traffic offline to online, tap into the rising popularity of commercial Augmented Reality advertising and produce marketing content which is a fusion of different cultures and heritage. This makes China fascinating and different marketplace to develop in.
The growth of ‘Dai Gou’, personal buyers and early adopters
For new brands this growing trend offers a huge advantage. ‘Dai Gou’s’ are personal buyers who tend to focus on new entry brands, they have built up a large community of shoppers and followers around them, buy in bulk and then re-sell. An influential ‘Dai Gou’ can improve the reputation of a brand significantly. A recent example is ‘Mr Bags’ who partnered with Givenchy and sold over $174 000 worth of bags in 12 minutes via WeChat. These influencers are a powerful tool to help you connect with the end consumer.
The infrastructure for growth is better than ever
The infrastructure for growth is more extensive than ever. There are a host of digital platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, Baidu, Little Red Book and Alibaba’s cross border services which all facilitate cross border e-commerce and business. It’s vital to use existing Chinese platforms as they are perfectly catered to the Chinese market.
The Chinese love to buy international products
This is well documented, ‘international’ in China equates to quality and new brands can tap into this powerful association through their branding and marketing efforts. It is important to adapt and tailor your image to the Chinese market whilst retaining a brand identity as a foreign company, for the local consumer it is more prestigious to buy imported products.
Social Commerce offers huge opportunities
The rise of social e-commerce benefits new entry brands, this is because they can start to build a reputation on platforms such as WeChat by producing quality content and offering customer services. Once a reputation is built it is a simple case of linking articles, offers and promotions with your WeChat store. Purchases are made instantly via WeChat’s inbuilt payment system and, in a sense, consumers are becoming more spontaneous and willing to adopt new brands early, if they have the presence of a WeChat store.
Creating better links with distributors and local experts
New brands have to start from scratch but can benefit early on from realizing the importance of forging stronger links with local distributors and experts. Local partnerships will be vital for your success in a fiercely competitive market. It is a very fast paced market that is constantly changing so you need to have your ear to the ground.
We are a specialist marketing agency based in Shanghai, China. For more information on how we can help you grow your business see our blog/website here.