The China Connection

Jun 28, 2011

Tamar Koifman

Forget “social media” or “e-commerce”, there is one magical word on the mind of every global brand CEO this year and it’s…CHINA. From mass to luxury, from soap to cars, Western companies are busy aligning their business strategies for maximum impact in this high-potential market. For those executives still learning about what it means to market in China, there are a plethora of events now catering to this need. One such event, China Connect, took place in Paris June 16 – 17, 2011. Said to be “Europe’s first ever Chinese marketing and internet event,” representatives from many global media and luxury companies were present.
Below are some the key takeaways and interesting facts from the event, as reported via Twitter:

The Chinese Consumer
- Logos are particularly important to the Chinese consumer.
- Chinese characters are image-based and speak to the right side of the brain (unlike alphabetic languages). This leads to the importance of logos, which are symbolic, much like Chinese ideograms.
- 35% of Chinese consumers aged 18 – 25 care more about brand than price. ~ Jeff Kwek, Tencent
- Using clichés of China for use in marketing to the Chinese will have negative implications.
(via @darkplanneur, @emmanuelvivier @lefreddie)

The Chinese Internet & E-Commerce
- Since 2007 the trade volume of online shopping in China has been growing by 100% per year
- The rise of social shopping in China: 400 websites copying Groupon’s model entered the market in just 7 months!
- China’s total Internet users has reached 457 million
- Average monthly collected comments about luxury brands: 500,000
- 1 billion online hours daily in China = 2x US
(via @BUZZ2LUXE, @jeromepineau)

Social Media
- People have more online than offline friends in China.
- China has highest level of social media engagement in the world.
- Lady Gaga who? → Liu Xiang has 16 million followers on Tencent Weibo
- Every Chinese star has a digital agent to contact to negotiate sponsored tweets (or equivalent)!
- Chinese corruption in social media is common – paying influencers to blog about you without disclosing it.
- What it costs to enter Chinese #socialmedia landscape? 30K will get you listening to begin with…

(via @ChinaConnectEU, @ThomasCrampton, @sofiene, @jeromepineau)

Mobile
- China is the largest mobile marketplace in the world with over 150M smart phones expected to be sold in 2011
- 60% of mobile users in China are under 29 yrs old
- Nokia is still ahead of other mobile devices for internet access in China. iPhone close behind and Android in 3rd place, is growing fast.
- Android will become the dominant mobile OS in China in 14 months, not Apple
- Video is the #1 mobile activity in China now by far

(via @jeromepineau @BUZZ2LUXE, and @laurentlaforge)

Location Based Marketing
- Jiepang, China’s Foursquare, now reaches 1,000,000 total users
- Profile of average Jiepang user: 20-30 yrs, lives in city, student
- Having a meal is the top activity on Jiepang. Most check-ins occur at lunch or dinner
- Starbucks campaign on Jiepang > Nearly 50,000 check-ins and over 13,000 badges pushed to Sina Weibo
- Converse block party campaign on Jiepang > 1,800 check-ins, more than 300 users coming to the scene within 2 hours
- Burberry campaign on Jiepang > Nearly 3,600 check-ins and nearly 2,000 badges pushed to Sina Weibo during 9 days execution
- Louis Vuitton campaign on Jiepang > Nearly 2,700 users check-in and nearly 1,700 badges pushed to Sina Weibo during one week
(via @BUZZ2LUXE and @enfinbref)

TV and Video
- There were 929 million total viewers of the Chinese version of the TV show Ugly Betty
- Television landscape in China: 3000+ channels
- TV advertising costs increased 14% and has made it unaffordable for non-mass brands
- Don’t stay on only one video channel, spread the content to all of them (Youku, PPlive, Yoka…)
- Beauty products are highly discussed online in China. The challenge of Yue Sai: create a C2C conversation about “Buzz my Heart”
- “Buzz my heart” strong viewership > 3.5 Million on Tudou beauty channel, Youku, PPlive and Yoka
- “Camera Café” Nescafé series > daily episode (6 weeks) 25 million video views + 1,2 million ad impressions!
- Online marketing will surpass TV marketing by 2013 in China
(via @brycewhitwam, @sofiene, @ChinaConnectEU, @jeromepineau, @BUZZ2LUXE)

Other Interesting Points
- Selling tea in a bag to the Chinese is like selling wine in a can to the French.
- There is a relatively new fascination with wine in China, though some opt to add 7-Up or other mixers… something that might shock the wineries where the product comes from!
- Han Han is definitely the blogger in China to follow, in particular for his activities in social shopping
- The first Ikea R&D lab outside of Sweden will be located in China.
- China Post has no bulk rate concept. And they don’t like lists in China! Phone is the most efficient way to do direct marketing in China.

(via @sotiene, @aninanet, @darkplanneur, @brycewhitwam, @jeromepineau)

Author: Tamar Koifman
Copy Editor: Gina Conforti
Photo credits: Jeffrey Coolidge