Digital Marketing in China – What You Should Know

Digital Marketing in China:

What You Should Know


Ecosystem Overview


China is one of the largest markets in the world, with an ever-increasing internet penetration rate as well as an ever-growing online market, as such, digital marketing has become a priority of many businesses operating in China. We will look into some of the key factors companies should pay attention to when dealing with the booming industry of digital marketing in China.




The Chinese Language:

The First Stepping Stone 

中文: 第一块垫脚石

Although education of the English language is widely available nowadays, Chinese is obviously still the main language used in daily communication in China. Chinese people can be sensitive to the words chosen and the language itself is tricky, which can become misleading and affect the brand image


For instance, back in 2016, NIKE released their annual collection with a design that put Chinese characters on the heel of both shoes. The left shoe read “wealth” (发) and the right read “Fortune” (福), both are blessing words individually, but when these two characters are placed together it means “getting fatter”. Coupled with Internet and social media coverage adding fuel to the fire, the design immediately became viral on WeChat, Weibo and Baidu. In an age when shoppers review products online first, such missteps can have an impact on brands.




Mobile is the Key



AdMaster reported that for 2020, 71% of advertisers planned to increase their budgets for digital marketing. The same data shows that 75% of these advertisers will also be focusing on increasing ad spend on mobile platforms. The mobile phone is the preferred device to browse the internet, and consequently, to shop online. Needless to say, brands that are able to build better customer journeys on mobile channels benefit more from digital marketing.


An important factor to keep in mind is that there isn’t much Google and Facebook can do in the Chinese marketplace, as access to these “western” sites is prohibited by the government. However, there are plenty of, if not equivalent, better and more widely-used alternatives: popular platforms such as WeChat, Weibo and Douyin/Tik Tok are equipped with integrated and interactive features to attract a general audience; other platforms such as Zhihu, Xiaohongshu, and Toutiao can be of practical use when trying to reach a niche market audience.







Video Content


Brands can’t avoid video content when marketing through digital channels in China. For one thing, the aforementioned Apps are all incorporated with a video sharing feature. The advantage of short-form videos lies in their flexibility and fast production. In addition, in order to further amplify the effectiveness of short videos, brands may collaborate with celebrities and KOLs/influencers, who happen to be producers of the most popular short-video contents. Of course, brands will have the responsibility to identify on which platforms their target audience are present




Marketers are using the platform for many promotional materials such as promoting brand culture, product launch announcements, product reviews, and many more. Aside from promotion, short videos are also popularly used in China for PR crisis management, improving customer relationships, and market research, to name a few.





China holds a large and diversified market that needs specific, consumer-centered strategies. The technology in consumer’s pockets is their gateway to the world. This new decade will blur the lines between digital and reality, between branding and entertainment, and between shopping and socializing. With the help of these strategies, brands will be able to encounter bountiful opportunities and optimize their marketing campaigns and attain success.


We at Eastant are dedicated to assisting brands with their digital business expansion. If you are looking for solutions to navigate through China’s digital marketing world, feel free to contact us: