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It has been said that, “great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people.” But any discussion about doing business in China cannot help but talk about people.
According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) by the end of 2013 there were 618m internet users in China. This is around 46% of the population. 500m people use mobile devices to connect to the internet and 302m people are e-shoppers.
But I don’t want to focus on discussing people, although it is quite clear that is a barometer of business in China. I want to discuss some ideas as to how to connect with these people.
What ways can brands from outside China reach these people?
The sheer size of the Chinese ecommerce market makes it an enticing challenge for many Western businesses.
And to give an idea of exactly why brands like Burberry, ASOS and Selfridges are hoping to expand East, I’ve rounded up some stats which reveal the scale of the opportunity for online retail in China.
This post gives a good foundation for any ecommerce professionals with an interest in the Chinese market, and in future posts I’ll take a look at the major players within the industry, including Alibaba Group, Tencent and Baidu.
Or for more information, read our posts looking at how to approach social marketing in China and 30+ interesting stats about mobile commerce in APAC...
The Chinese market is massive and whilst American and European brands are actively pursuing it, Chinese companies are also actively courting this interest.
In this post, I’ll give some examples of brands that have moved into China, selling directly online. I’ll also detail moves from Chinese companies such as Alibaba, which is encouraging US retailers to sell into the country, as well as Chinese brands partnering with US brands with both parties benefitting.
To start with some context, Ernst & Young estimate that by 2030, China’s ‘middle’ will number 1bn and represent two thirds of the world’s middle.
And despite this burgeoning demand in China, home-grown brands are lacking. As China’s twelfth five-year plan comes to end (one of its tenets is aimed at encouraging national brands, not just designers), there are an increasing number of international partner brands in China, and some Western businesses have been bought, too.
Here are some of the best stats that we've seen this week.
This week it includes Facebook's latest billion dollar purchase, ecommerce integration, Android's dominance of the smartphone market and online marketing spend in China.
And for more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
Baidu is often referred to as the Chinese Google, and while its respective dominance in its market is similar to Google's, this can lead to the misconception that the two search engines differ only in name and region.
This is of course not the case. Baidu is a completely different search engine to Google, with different values and ranking factors.
Read on to find out my seven on-page tips for Baidu SEO, or for more information on this topic download Econsultancy's Baidu Search Best Practice Guide.
Last month we looked at 2013’s UK edition of Google’s Zeitgeist which always proves an interesting overview of the most popular trends in our search behaviour over the year.
But as China gears up to celebrate the start of its new year, let’s turn to Baidu to see how search habits in the east might compare.
These stats and trends, as well as a wealth of Christmas ecommerce data can be found in the latest edition of our Internet Statistics Compendium.
This year we hosted our second Digital Cream in Shanghai, and because we liked the venue so much from last year, we decided to hold it again at exactly the same place.
There’s something quite enthralling to be running our Digital Cream senior marketers’ roundtable gathering at one of the top night spots in town, especially when it’s located in mainland China.
There’s the stunning skyline view of downtown Shanghai, the Huangpu tributary of the Yangtze river running through the vibrant metropolis, and the feeling that you’re somewhere incredibly special and, dare I say it, more than a little auspicious.
One UK chippy has caused quite a stir among Chinese tourists. The owner Robert Savvides was baffled by the influx of Chinese people for a couple of years until he realised that the power of international SEO can aid many small UK businesses.
An interesting news feature emerged on the BBC News website last week.
It’s a quaint story about a sea-facing Brighton chippy enjoying an influx of Chinese diners...
What do censorship and surveillance programmes look for? What can this tell us about internet usage in China?
Can we contrast with the perceived surveillance state of the West? What are the implications for a company in the Chinese market?
Unsurprisingly, there are lots of questions still to be answered about the state of the internet in China.
First Monday has this month published a very interesting paper, presenting an analysis of data from a year and a half tracking the censorship and surveillance keyword lists of two instant messaging (IM) programs used in China.
I thought it would be useful to sum up what Crandall et al. found, so you don’t have to read the whole thing. Although this study looks at IM clients, there are certainly findings that can be extrapolated across public services, such as Baidu and Sina Weibo.
This is a summary of the six key points from a talk I made in Shanghai (with Tencent) on behalf of Econsultancy on strategic management issues in digital transformation.
In addition, I've given my first reflections about the Chinese digital market.
Here are some of the most interesting digital marketing stats we've seen this week.
Stats include ecommerce in the Middle East, multiscreening, online spending in China, email marketing, mobile in emerging markets and digital budgets in APAC.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
Taobao is China’s largest online shopping platform and today is its 10th birthday, so what better way to commemorate the occasion than an infographic?
According to the stats, in 2013 the Chinese are expected to spend more than £177 billion shopping online making it the world’s largest ecommerce market.
And despite the fact that internet penetration is just 40% in China, the country’s online population is still 242 million people.
For more information on this topic check out our Digital Market Landscape Report which focuses on the emerging market in China, or read our interview with Net Media Planet on how European businesses should approach paid search in the country.