According to the Statistical Report on the Development of Internet in China, as of December 2020, the number of Internet users in mainland China is close to 1 billion, and the Internet penetration rate (i.e. the proportion of the number of people using the Internet to the total population) reaches 70.4%, of which 99.7% of Internet users will use cell phones to access the Internet. The huge number of Internet users in Mainland China makes online marketing full of infinite possibilities. In response, TDC’s Economic and Trade Research (ETR) has set up a “New Marketing Strategy for China” and invited a number of marketing companies to share their online marketing experience. This brief summarizes and organizes the common online marketing channels and methods in Mainland China for Hong Kong businesses to have a comprehensive reference.
Major Online Marketing Channels
The major online marketing channels in the Mainland can be summarized into the following categories.
Social And Communication Software
WeChat is the most popular social networking and communication software in Mainland China. Users can use WeChat chat rooms to chat with others, follow friends from their friends’ circle, follow companies’ official accounts, read messages from subscribed accounts, use small programs for shopping, and watch videos through video numbers (video numbers). Another social and communication software used by more consumers is QQ.
Major Online Shopping Platforms
Consumers can browse different types and brands of products in one go on large online shopping platforms. In addition to providing a platform for merchants to operate online stores, many of the major online shopping platforms also operate retail businesses themselves. Major platforms include Taobao, Tmall, Jingdong, Jindo, and Vipshop. Different platforms have their own business focus.
Sina Weibo is a very popular micro-blogging social media site in mainland China. Users can post comments on their personal accounts and also use Sina Weibo’s push and search functions to find information of interest.
Users enter keywords to search for websites. The main search sites in China are Baidu, 360 Search, and Sogou. In addition, in recent years, there are search platforms that search purely for news and media information, the main platform is Today’s Headlines.
Short Video Platform
Unlike video search platforms, the short videos on short video platforms are mainly vertical videos, which match the users’ viewing habits with cell phones. At the same time, the frequency of pushing videos on short video platforms is more intensive. The main platforms are ShakeYin and Racer.
Video Search Platform
Users can search for their favorite videos by entering keywords on the platform. There are many well-known platforms in the market, including Akiyip, Youku.com, Bilibili, Tencent Video, Watch Video, and Watermelon Video. The business scope of each film search platform varies greatly. Some of them focus on broadcasting TV series and movies, while some of them sell various hobbies and interests.
Consumer Experience Sharing Platform And Online Evaluation Platform
Users can post texts, videos, and pictures on the platforms to share their consumption experiences, follow other users’ accounts (consumption experience sharing platform), and rate and comment on the merchant’s page after consumption (online evaluation platform). The main consumption experience sharing platform is Xiaohongshu; the main online evaluation platforms are VW Dianping and Ma Hive. The study shows that Xiaohongshu’s users are mainly under 35 years old and female1.
Knowledge Sharing Platform
Users can ask questions, read other people’s Q&A, or answer other users’ questions on the platform. The main platform is Zhihu.
Group Purchase Platform
Users can enter the platform to buy the same goods as other users to get a discount. The main platform is Meituan.
Main Marketing Methods
By paying for online channels, we have the space to place corporate advertisements. At present, apart from direct advertising, it is also possible to arrange implant advertising through sponsorship of TV series, etc. Nowadays, through data analysis and specific computer algorithms, companies can accurately present their advertisements to target customers through the platform.
2. Curated Content Copy
Content copywriting is a form of soft marketing. By planning content copy that meets the preferences of target customers, corporate information can be delivered to consumers in an interesting and lifelike way, thus attracting consumers’ attention to the company.
Attracting customers to buy goods or services at a special price. In addition to the traditional sales seasons such as Chinese New Year and National Day, there are also some sales seasons led by online shopping platforms, such as “6‧18”, “Double 11” and “Double 12”. Usually, many companies will offer special offers to attract customers to spend during the sales season.
4. Build Brand Supporters
By interacting with customers, you can build a closer relationship with them and attract other consumers to follow your company. The main ways of interacting with customers include setting up mini-games, webcasting, and selling products.
5. Weblebrity Or Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Promotion
Net celebrities or KOLs are people who have a certain number of supporters online in a certain field. Companies can cooperate with them to introduce their products and services to consumers through weblebrities or KOLs.
6. Social Retailing
Enterprises make use of the social circle of salespersons or customers to recommend the enterprise’s goods and services to their friends (It must be noted that according to the Regulations on Prohibition of pyramid selling, it is defined as pyramid selling and illegal for operators to develop people to make illegal profits by calculating and paying compensation to the developed people based on the number of people they develop directly or indirectly or their sales performance, or requiring the developed people to pay a certain fee as a condition to obtain the qualification to join).