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 even getting ahead of trends that are due to come to the west.

This was very literally true early in the Covid-19 pandemic, when regions that were impacted by the virus later on were able to look to China for a sense of what was to come, and to discover coping strategies that had already been implemented and proven. China’s mobile-first approach to digital, its seamless integration of ecommerce with things like social media and video, and the country’s wholehearted embrace of technological solutions are just a few of the traits that have made China a digital trendsetter.

However, globally relevant though China’s digital landscape might be, it is shaped by geographical and cultural factors that are largely unique to China – giving it traits and constraints that aren’t found elsewhere 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.


  • 1. Key Opinion Leaders (Influencers)
    • 1.1. Virtual KOLs: Connecting with a younger generation
    • 1.2. “Silver-haired” KOLs and China’s ageing population
  • 2. Private domain traffic and 'Key Opinion Consumers'
    • 2.1. What is 'private domain traffic'?
  • 3. Short videos
    • 3.1. Marketing on Douyin and Kuaishou
    • 3.2. Shoppable short video and Douyin’s “interest ecommerce”
  • 4. Long-form and streaming video
    • 4.1. How can brands market on China’s long-form video platforms?
    • 4.2. Live commerce
  • 5. Rural communities

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