8 Tips to… Target Chinese Consumers
Chinese is the fastest growing consumer market in the world. China’s forecasts show a growth rate for consumer spending of 7.7% for the next ten years. Thus, there is a large number of potential markets in China for both Chinese and foreign companies to capture. Many companies have recognized this market potential and either have already entered China, or have intentions of doing so. Competition to is fierce with the increase in foreign companies in China, and therefore it is vital to target Chinese consumers in a way that is specific to their local culture and demands. International brands must provide a balance of being a great global brand, and showing commitment and desire to be part of the local Chinese culture.
Target Chinese consumers: Localize Your Products
To target Chinese consumers effectively, you need to localize your brand. That is, to localize your marketing campaigns in a way that is sensitive to their culture, and localizing your products to meet Chinese consumers’ demands. This does not necessarily mean changing your entire product offering, but perhaps instead changing the packaging to appeal to Chinese consumers, adjusting some ingredients, and adding new products to your range. For example, KFC would have already been ahead in the Chinese market with a wide range of chicken products, but also decided to add rice and noodle products to their menu, further localizing their offerings to the demands of the Chinese market and effectively targeting Chinese consumers.
Target Chinese consumers: Create a Chinese Name for Your Business
Creating a Chinese name for your business will help in targeting Chinese consumers by being able to communicate some kind of message to consumers through your brand’s name. It is advised that you do not use online translators, but instead seek the assistance of local Chinese experts when developing a Chinese name in order to avoid any misinterpretations and create the best name for your business.
Target Chinese consumers: Create a Chinese Website
Adapting your English website into a Chinese website, and optimizing your Chinese site for Chinese search engines will all assist your efforts in targeting the largest consumer market in the world. Please note that Google is not a major search engine in China, and so SEO tasks should largely be focused around search engines such as Baidu and Bing, and will increase your potential reach to more than half a billion Chinese internet users.
Target Chinese consumers: Target the Right Age Group
Too often foreign companies target the wrong age groups when entering Chinese markets. The biggest spenders in China are typically a decade younger than the biggest spending group in Western countries. In the U.S., the average age of Mercedes buyers are 53 years old. In contrast, 39 years old is the average age of Chinese consumer buying a Mercedes. Younger Chinese consumers are very optimistic about their futures and careers, and as a result, spend more money to present a good image of themselves in preparation for large increases in their salaries and status.
Target Chinese consumers: Adapt your payment methods in China
Data from UnionPay states that all Chinese consumers own at least one Union Pay card. This is because UnionPay is a familiar and safe brand to Chinese consumers. Accepting UnionPay (and displaying the UnionPay logo) as a form of payment method has been shown to increase revenue by 20 times, and opens your company to 50% of the world’s chosen method of payment.
Target Chinese consumers: Use Chinese Social Media
Similar to Google, Facebook and Twitter are blocked websites in China. Chinese consumers listen to recommendations from friends and constantly share their experiences with a brand on social media. Weibo (a combination of Facebook and Twitter), as well as mobile social media platforms such as WeChat are viable sites for social media marketing to Chinese consumers. Creating good content on these sites will likely result in your content being shared by Chinese consumers and therefore generate more traffic to your company and its website.
Target Chinese consumers: Price Appropriately for Chinese Markets
Whilst the Chinese middle class is expanding at a rapid pace, foreign companies need to understand that China’s Per Capita (USD$6,076) is vastly different to the Per Capita GDP received by consumers in Western countries (USD$67,723 in Australia; USD$49,922 in U.S.). Product prices should be adjusted appropriately to target Chinese consumers effectively, keeping in mind the perceived value of the product. Do not make the price so low that the product loses value and uniqueness. Perceived value is of crucial importance in pricing products in China, particularly for ‘luxury’ brands.
Target Chinese consumers: Markets are Different in Different Regions
Like localizing to a country’s culture, a company needs to treat different regions and cities in China differently. Different regions and cities vary in attitudes and hold differences in their cultures and values, so targeting different regions and cities as different target markets will prove beneficial to the overall success of your company’s operations in China. By adjusting marketing strategies in different regions, you can better target Chinese consumers.
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