Understanding China’s internet and marketing landscape is no longer just the preserve of ‘China-watchers’ or entrepreneurs who want to start up a business in China.

As China’s immense power and influence in business and technology grows, understanding what makes China tick and the trends that have its consumers captivated is increasingly necessary for understanding the global tech and internet landscape – and perhaps even getting ahead of trends that are due to come to the west.

Between China’s mobile-first approach to internet, the seamless way that it integrates ecommerce into things like video and social media in a way that western platforms can only dream of (and are increasingly trying to imitate), and the fact that gave birth to one of the biggest apps currently taking the west by storm (TikTok, that is), and China is starting to look more and more like the future of digital in a global sense.

However, globally relevant though China’s approach to digital might be, it still evolved largely in isolation from other regions, and is shaped by geographical and cultural factors that are unique to China – giving it traits and constraints that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. To understand digital marketing in China is to become familiar with a completely different slate of companies, different consumer concerns and purchasing habits, and different trends and practices.

To help with this, we’ve put together a broad overview of some of the biggest trends and developments in Chinese digital marketing over the past few years. While it doesn’t cover everything there is to know about digital marketing in China, it gets at some of the hottest topics currently dominating the conversation, and examines why they are so important and how brands (both Chinese and western) are taking advantage of them.

It covers:

  • China’s Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs): What and where do they publish, and how are they different from western influencers?
  • The live commerce trend: What is it and why is it so popular?
  • The short video boom: Which are the key platforms and opportunities for marketers?

Rural communities: Why they are a major up-and-coming market and source of content creation in China

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