In this article:
- Beyond the "Great Firewall": B2B Digital Marketing in China
- The milestones on the way to more visibility
- Your website: Performance and accessibility
- SEO: Content, Content, Content - Optimized for Mobile
- Paid campaigns: Choosing the right platforms
- Social Media: Organic Content for WeChat and Co.
Beyond the "Great Firewall": B2B Digital Marketing in China
Since 2016, China has been the most important export country for German companies. No other country in the world has had more goods exported to it in recent years. The most important export good (of course): Cars! Directly behind are classic B2B products: Machinery, electrical engineering and chemical products.¹
No wonder, then, that more and more B2B companies are turning their attention to the Far East and vying for the attention of Chinese buyers and decision-makers with their products and services. And especially online, they are pushing for more visibility in the market.
But this is easier said than done. In fact, many companies fail in their efforts because of the "Great Firewall of China. With this control instrument, the Chinese government monitors outgoing and incoming data traffic in the Middle Kingdom. All websites are checked for undesirable content and blocked if necessary. In plain language, this means that websites hosted abroad are either not even displayed to Chinese users or are rendered de facto unusable due to endless loading times.
Three quarters of all German companies are virtually invisible with their website in China.Director Sales & Marketing and owner of SNK
Your website: Performance and accessibility
The two most important prerequisites for the success of your corporate website in China: accessibility and performance. These measures will help you achieve this:
SEO: Content, Content, Content - Optimized for Mobile
Once your website is ready to go, it has to be found - by users and, of course, by search engines. The biggest and most important player is Baidu, with a market share of over 75%² something like the Google of China. And just like Google, Baidu has a lot of competition. To hold your own here, here's what you need to keep in mind:
Paid campaigns: Choosing the right platforms
WeChat, Weibo, Toutiao, Douyin, Little Red Book - just like here, there are plenty of (social) platforms in China where you can create visibility for your brand and product with ads. Baidu and other search engines also offer corresponding services, of course. Depending on the product, e-commerce platforms such as Tmall Global or 1688, both part of Alibaba, are also interesting.
Our tip: Don't be overwhelmed by the mass of channels and their possibilities. Look at markets and target groups and focus on one or two channels that are the most promising. Otherwise, you're just blowing your budget. Keyword: wastage.
With paid, the rule is: focus instead of watering can. B2B marketing in China is no different than in Europe.Director Sales & Marketing and owner of SNK
Social Media: Organic Content for WeChat and Co.
The final step is to build your own, organically populated social media channel. In the vast majority of cases, WeChat is the best choice to start with. With around 1.3 billion active accounts³, the app is the largest and most popular social platform in the country. It not only serves its users as a messenger, but also enables contactless payment via smartphone, online shopping and much more.
With an official company profile, you can take advantage of the app's reach. Relevant content tailored to the target groups, written in the local language, is indispensable for this.
Depending on the industry and product, cooperation with Chinese influencers, so-called KOLs (=Key Opinion Leaders) is very effective. On the way to more visibility, however, this is already the lap of honor.
Successful B2B digital marketing in China is very difficult to achieve from Germany alone. Having your own site in mainland China is very helpful for an easily accessible website with short loading times. But even if you decide against hosting from mainland China and accept the performance losses of your website: It's going to be hard without a local contact. Both in terms of the cultural fit of your content and in terms of very practical tasks: Many ad and tracking tools are only available in the local language.
You want to conquer new target groups in China, but don't know exactly how to start? We can help and advise you on topics such as website hosting, technical setup or tracking.