Marketing to China

Marketing in China moves fast...

In the few seconds since you first clicked on to this page:

  • Over 10,000 active users have visited Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Facebook
  • Over 50,000 videos have been viewed on Youku, China’s equivalent of Youtube

Chinese-friendly marketing assets

Fortunately there are lots of things you can do to help stay ahead of the game.

It is really worth investing in getting your marketing and visitor information translated. You don’t need to go to the costs of expensive print and artwork, simply having information in easy to access information sheets is appreciated.  There are several agencies that can help with this, who specialise in writing for visitors.

It is also worth investing in some still and moving imagery that shows Chinese people enjoying your product. These are likely to be used much more widely by Chinese media and third parties than images of Western customers.

Digital marketing

Chinese operating systems and digital consumer behaviour are vastly different to the UK. Here are a few tips:

  • Registering a domain with a .cn suffix will improve search engine performance in China and prevent your domain name from being pirated by someone else.  A .cn domain can only be registered by a company licensed in China so you'll need to ask a marketing agency or law firm licensed in China to register this on your behalf
  • Conduct a trademark search for your company name and register your trademark in China under the relevant classification
  • Get your website hosted on a server inside China (licenses permitting). The next best option would be to host a server in Hong Kong
  • Make your Chinese web page information-heavy. Home pages in China tend to be longer and contain a full site-map of links to most pages on the site
  • Include your organisation’s English and Chinese names on every page
  • Fully localise not just the content but the wire-framing, design and coding
  • Effectively manage SEO and SEM on Baidu, the dominant search engine in China
  • Remember that over 50% of internet use in China is via mobile technology, so present meta-copy accordingly
  • Using social media is absolutely essential. The most prominent Chinese social media platforms are Sina Weibo / Tencent Weibo, which between them reach over half the Chinese population
  • Remember that the average age of a Chinese internet/mobile/social media user is 28. In the US it is 40! So tailor your communications accordingly

Download the digital & social media marketing section of our GREAT China Welcome handbook.

The Department for International Trade runs an Export Communications Review service which appraises business websites and provides advice on language and cultural issues to help improve competitiveness.

Advertising

If you are considering advertising in China there is a list of key travel trade and consumer publications in the travel industry (PDF, 855KB) section of our GREAT China Welcome handbook.

Some specific, cost-effective advertising opportunities that you might like to consider include:

Britain Travel Shops at Visa Application Centres 
In 2013 1.9m UK visa applications were made in China, many of them at the 13 Visa Application Centres throughout China that are run by Visa Facilitation Services on behalf of UKVI. Each Visa Application Centre includes a physical  ‘British Travel Shop’ to deliver information about British travel  & hospitality products to visitors right at the very point that they are planning their trip. There are a range of advertising opportunities within these and members of the GREAT China Welcome charter are entitled to a 10% discount.

Travel Link Daily
Travel Link Daily offers 10% discount on its advertising rates to UK companies that are members of the GREAT China Welcome Charter or clients of ChinaContact.

Hello Britain
China Britain Travel Group (CBTG) is the largest and longest running tour operator in the UK dealing exclusively with China.  Hello Britain is the trading name of CBTG’s inbound tourism business into UK. Under the branding of Hello Britain, CBTG publishes its annual “Hello Britain” brochure which is widely distributed among Chinese outbound travel trade through well-targeted distribution channels. The “Hello Britain” brochure is regarded by Chinese outbound travel agents as the Sales Bible for travel to the UK. CBTG offers 10% discount on its advertising rates to UK companies that are members of the GREAT China Welcome Charter or partners of CBTG. See their media pack (PDF, 728KB).

Destination Britain (also known in China as 下一站英国 or Next Stop Britain).  Outbound Global Marketing's dedicated sales guide for Chinese travel agents is published once a year and offers very good rates to GREAT China Welcome members.  Email for more details.

Marquess is a new magazine from Singtao Publishing aimed at the Chinese luxury market. It offers editorial and discounted advertising opportunities to GREAT China Welcome Charter members. See their media kit (PDF, 13.4MB).

UK Visitor Guide is published by Thomson Publishing, and is aimed directly at Chinese visitors. 100,000 copies are distributed via visa application centres in Mainland China , 192 airport departure lounges in China & Hong Kong, and arrival lounges and tourist information centres in the UK. GREAT China Welcome members are entitled to a 30% discount. See their media pack.

Press & PR

Our destination PR team can help in lots of ways with reaching journalists and bloggers in China.

Members of the GREAT China Welcome charter also have the opportunity to feed into our exclusive GREAT China Welcome updates that are sent regularly to hundreds of media & trade contacts in China. So make sure you send us news of any new products or services tailored specifically for the Chinese market.

Exhibitions & trade fairs

There are numerous trade and consumer travel fairs and exhibitions in China, the most well-known being CITM and ILTM Asia. You can download a full list of the main fairs and exhibitions (PDF, 319KB) here.

VisitBritain organises a Britain stand at ILTM Asia, which takes place in early June.  For details of how to participate view our opportunity search or contact our events team.

Department for International Trade's Tradeshow Access Programme can provide grants to help cover the costs of attending overseas trade shows.

Trade missions

A number of organisations run special trade missions to China, arranging for UK companies to network face to face with potential customers.

VisitBritain runs an annual China Mission. See our calendar for details or contact our events team.            

Department for International Trade provides a wide range of services including participation at selected trade fairs, outward missions and bespoke intelligence on foreign markets. Examples include:  
  
Passport to Export (P2E), a 12 month programme designed to help companies to successfully grow their business internationally. Eligible companies are SMEs relatively new to export.

Market Visit Support (MVS), a grant to help companies that are investigating or developing new overseas markets. With the support of MVS, companies can visit markets where Department for International Trade has a presence and look for opportunities.

Export Market Research Scheme (EMRS) provides advice to companies to help them carry out market research. The scheme also offers a funding of up to 50% of the cost of market research.