While digital marketing ventures in the United States can seem crowded at times, China presents an interesting opportunity for businesses willing to expand their portfolio. In an article originally written by Huileng Tan of CNBC, the potential and challenges associated with digital media in China are presented firsthand.
Despite China being an economic giant compared to the rest of the world, the nation has a notorious reputation for being the center for counterfeit products. However, this stigma does not carry over into the digital media scene, where the market seems to demand innovation.
This innovation can be seen with apps like WeChat, a platform which has successfully merged typical social media operations with mobile payment and other unique functions. Aldo Fumagalli, chairman of the Candy Hoover Group, uses WeChat as the perfect example of the “digital craftsmanship” which has been blooming in China.
The innovation which has been present in China recently has also greatly increased transactions within the industry. According to data recently collected by iResearch Global, over 1.45 trillion in US dollars changed hands between mobile payment platforms in 2015. In current projections, this amount would more than double to 3.2 trillion in 2017.
“Mobile payment has permeated all aspects of life and changed basic, everyday habits,” Ogilvy & Mather and Ipsos note in a report regarding Chinese mobile payments in 2016. This report also showed that even monetary gifts, like the cash in your birthday card, have gone digital in China.
This exchange of funds via mobile payment platforms has also translated into a booming digital advertising market, one which is second in size behind the US. According to more data from iResearch Global, online advertising in China was valued at 30.4 billion in US dollars in 2016, a 36% increase when compared to 2015. In addition, the research firm believes that this growth in advertising will remain consistent for years to come.
Despite China banning tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, the country still has a vibrant internet audience invested in sites like Alibaba, Tencent, Sina, and Baidu. Each of these sites attracts a sizeable Chinese audience, making the potential for digital advertising a relatively simple concept.
Another point of interest within China’s digital media environment is the country’s live-streaming scene. According to Ashley Galina Dudarenok, head of strategy at Chinese social media company ChoZan, “Social media has become an important battlefield for brands to complete for brand awareness, engage audiences and convert them into customers.”
With regard to the social media audience in China, state news agency Xinhua reports that there are roughly 730 million active users. Many of these users are considered millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s) and typically live in large cities, much like the social media dynamic in the US.
Given the prominent social media presence in China, the potential for US businesses to enter this market is very realistic. Nike, for example, reported a sizeable sales increase after expanded efforts on Chinese social media. In order to make the most impact, ChoZan recommends that US businesses focus on key social media concepts. These concepts include launching large online campaigns, cooperating with influential celebrities through live streaming, producing material geared towards Chinese values, and fulfilling the recent demand for personalized services.
With careful market focus and international strategy, many digital media marketing firms could find a well of success while operating in China. Only time will tell how successful this market will become in comparison to the United States.