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For many marketers in Europe, North America and Australia, China is the next great marketing frontier.
With over 1.35bn people and 635m internet users (and still growing), it seems as if there’s no end to the marketing possibilities in China.
The old adage "there's no such thing as bad publicity" might just be true in the age of social media.
Just ask Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, which found itself in the spotlight after a mobile phone video showing an amorous couple getting to know each other in a Beijing store's fitting room was distributed online.
China represents both a huge challenge and a huge opportunity for brands looking to expand into new markets.
Julien Chiavassa is an expert on Chinese ecommerce having been living and working in the country since 2005.
In 2011 he established Clarins’ first ecommerce store in China and has recently moved to Singapore to become head of digital and ecommerce in APAC.
I caught up with Chiavassa at Demandware’s Xchange ’14 conference to find out more about the challenges facing luxury cosmetics brands in China...
Social media users in Western nations tend to be very precious about their favourite networks.
Witness the uproar when Facebook introduced the new timeline back in 2011, or the disbelief when Twitter dared to introduce blue lines linking related tweets.
We seem to be unwilling to accept that social networks should do anything other than the simple tasks for which they were originally designed, ignoring that fact that agility and innovation was what made these companies successful in the first place.
Instagram is perhaps the ultimate example of this, as it has become phenomenally popular despite the fact that all it does is share photos (admittedly it does that extremely well and I’m an avid user).
And I’d be interested to see the reaction if Instagram ever tried to drastically alter the interface or develop new functionality.
Chinese social networks can seem a daunting challenge for brands that are trying to expand their business in APAC.
Beyond the obvious language barrier marketers have to get to grips with new functionality, cultural behaviours and consumer expectations.
The Chinese internet population currently stands at 618m, with 81% connecting via mobile, so the opportunity is too big to ignore.
And with internet penetration at just 45% there's still plenty of room for growth.
To find out more about social media in China and how brands should be approaching social marketing, I spoke to HootSuite's APAC managing director Ken Mandel.
Econsultancy Enterprise subscribers are also invited to attend a free roundtable on Ecommerce in China on Tuesday 15 April. Spaces are limited so click here to apply for a place.
Despite speculation that it might have the opportunity to develop a revenue model in which users pay directly for their use of its service, Twitter has made it clear in the past couple of years that it's going to make its money with advertising.
Only time will tell if that proves to be a wise move, but for those of us who wonder about what might have been, a similar service in Asia may provide an interesting case study.