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How to reach 500 million Chinese ‘netizens’
Book reveals the secrets of internet marketing in China
Today, over 500 million Chinese consumers wander the internet. Marijn Driessen en Jacco Bouw explain how to reach the internet-savvy Chinese online, in their book ‘Marketing to China’s Netizens’ that offers lots of graphics and images.
Rule number one, according to the book, Jacco Bouw states without hesitation: “If you want to sell anything to the Chinese, you cannot ignore the Chinese alternatives to FaceBook, Twitter, the instant message services, the e-commerce giants and the microblogging sites. Digital is the way to go.”
Messages like these come straight from Jacco’s internet marketing practice at Web Power, one of China’s most successful internet marketing companies of this time. Being the trusted advisor of many international and Chinese enterprises, Bouw wanted to ‘de-myth’ internet use in China.
“This market is much more mature than many western marketers think. To many teenagers in China, it is no less than a way of life. After being sent to the city to work, they do not know anybody but their colleagues and the web services is their connection to the world. These new consumers use today’s popular web service for self-expression, to find, meet and help friends. If you want to enter that world with your product, you must plan carefully.”
Another piece of vital knowledge: the young Chinese consumers make internet friends based upon the products they buy and the brands they like. “They are extremely brand-aware. What they buy is what they are. They like to talk about their new French luxury brand bag, which means that the ‘Electronic Word Of Mouth’ is extremely powerful; it can make and break your product. In general, Chinese internet users make their buying decisions almost exclusively on the internet. Online shopping is virtually exploding right now.”
Tempt the ‘netizen’
In ‘Marketing to China’s Netizens’, Marijn Driessen en Jacco Bouw offer a seven-step approach to tempt the Chinese ‘netizen’ in their ‘Chinese Dragon of Persuasion’ plan. “The plan is based on building online presence, keeping the sentiment surrounding the brand and carefully influencing the influencers in the Chinese internet arena.” The book also provides a practical overview of all the important local web services, from search giant Baidu to QQ Instant Message Service, and from micro-blogging site 163 to Groupon variant Jiepang and e-commerce giant Taobao.
The company that failed
Want to know how Audi, Porsche, Intel, Lancôme and Nokia did it right? Their case story is in the book. But to Jacco, the case of the company that failed to succeed in China may be even more interesting. “Why did Google have to go? In my opinion, they had to bail out because they thought they were offering a service with added value. They were not. No matter what web service you offer: there may be dozens of better alternatives in the market. Make sure you offer something unique – and preferably: luxurious – that everybody wants to have, use local web services well and you may have a chance to be successful with the 500 million web consumers in China.”
What experience do you have with selling products to the Chinese consumer, the digital way?
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