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Marketing in China

Prof. Dr. Bodo Kluxen / 24. Aug. 2009

All around the world latest financial crisis has been quickly followed by a sharp drop in consumer confidence and dramatic changes in consumer attitudes and spending behavior. The question in China is: What kind of impact may this have on their own economy? How will these changes affect all offer confidence and Chinese attitudes and behavior as consumers? China market discovered very fast and is still under growth rate and outstanding development, a short slowdown at the end of last year was followed up by government a counter measurement which turns the whole economy into a positive and growing direction again. Chinese consumer confidence appears to have been boosted successfully through the government’s economic stimulus initiatives already.

Marketing, Advertisement and Sales is under permanent development process, international standards are becoming normal and there is a daily progress in the market and all over the Advertisement environment as well.

Due to the enormous size of this country, effective customer selection and target group Marketing becomes very essential and helps to communicate without spread losses. At the beginning market research and target group (focus group) interviews can help to find the right message the best area and the most creative media for effective communication, later market test in dedicated areas and in specified goods could create a controlling and measurement overview and feedback out of the campaigns.

International Companies with China-wide business are still focusing on “Television”. Market share in Advertisement spending is around 83% in 2008 followed by “Newspaper” with around 15% overall Media spending amount. Also young Advertisement disciplines like “Mobile Marketing Mix” ( MMS, SMS and email) becoming more and more popular in China and being recognized by costumers quite well. Also for marketing Controlling this kind of Advertisement shows senders the success on a short term of time. Companies in Europe like to step in the Chinese market and to participate in this big economy does impact and follow up some simple rules to be successful;

  1. Starting in a high developing area (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou); using this market as a “test market”. Local radio and television, international Advertising and Media Companies do provide a lot of local background, understanding and knowledge.
  2. Market research and a combination from European experience will help you to define the right target group and find the best and most effective way of communication.
  3. Find a local distributor with access to the market, good logistic facilities and huge network possibilities.
  4. Using established brand or heritage background from Europe or product information and finding the USP which fits into Chinese culture and customer behavior. Telling a story, Chinese customers will love this. Ensure that the story fits into the culture and understanding of Chinese customer. Customize to the target group if necessary
  5. Using of local consultancies or support to save time and avoid huge losses through non-experience and wrong understanding of local rules, regulations and customer thinking.
  6. Remember all time: China is a fast growing market with tremendous possibilities and incredible market potential. You have to use a different set up with all the historical and cultural background, e.g. working time and availability of Management level has to be 24 hours and 7 days a week!
  7. If you follow this simple rules the market will payback you in a way you never could imagine!

The Author is working for an international car manufacturing in China for more the one year and also teaching the subjects Advertising, Sales and Marketing at Fuzhou University. If you need help or support please contact us under the address given above!