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Digital Marketing Essentials for China

By EU SME Centre | Guidelines      13.09.2017     Tags:


To bridge the gap between EU SMEs and the digital landscape of China, we present this guideline on Digital Marketing Essentials. In order to compete with local and large foreign companies, European companies need to fully understand China’s digital landscape and its users. It is only when EU SMEs understand this that they can gain serious ground in China’s fast moving economy.

Worldwide we perceive the benefits of big data for companies, in China this is no different. However, China made its transition to the mobile digital landscape much faster than elsewhere and companies reap the benefits by looking at user data, including geolocation, gender and even zodiac sign. Unfortunately, EU SMEs often lack the resources to make full use of what China’s digital landscape can offer.

This guideline provides a clear estimate of the costs of a marketing campaign in China but also aims to answer questions such as “How does the digital landscape look in China? What is the benefit of Key Opinion Leaders? And how do I reap the benefits of the available data tools?”

We help you to navigate through China’s digital landscape, with an overview of the most used applications and platforms. Moreover, this guideline explains how to gather knowledge from and on your (potential) customers and how the Chinese consumer walks through the steps from initial though to eventual purchase. Lastly, it provides an overview of local social media agencies and where to find the Key Opinion Leaders that can make your business grow.

As the Centre assists EU SMEs to enter the Chinese market, we believe this guideline on Digital Marketing Essentials provides the missing link between EU SMEs and China’s digital landscape, its wide range of apps and the astonishing ways in which these are used for reaching, gaining and retaining your customers.

With limited resources, this guideline provides you with the necessary insights to not only enter but also gain from the digital landscape in China.

Key Contents

Understanding the Chinese Customer and the Online Marketplace
Who Am I Talking to and What Do They Look Like?

  • Demographics
  • The Heterogeneous Market
  • Chinese Culture and Business Mind-set
  • Looking at the Future: The Millennials

What are the Digital Trends and How Do They Affect Me?

  • Mobile First
  • E-commerce Boom
  • Rise of Social Networks
  • Online Payment
  • Use of QR-codes

How Does the Digital Landscape in China Look Like? How is It Different From Europe?

  • Social Media and Messaging: WeChat
  • Microblogging: Weibo
  • Video: Youku-Tudou, iQiyi, Tencent
  • Live Streaming: Meipai, Douyu, Yingke
  • Community Forum/Q&A Platforms: Zhihu, Douban
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Networks: QQ, Renren

Essential Tools for Digital Marketing in China
How to Succeed in Each Phase of the Purchasing Process?

  • Exposure Phase
  • Active Information Search
  • Evaluate
  • Purchase Phase
  • Post-Purchase Phase
  • Loyalty

How to Adapt to the Chinese Context?

  • Business and Legal
  • Chinese Market and its Users – Market Entry Planning
  • Chinese Name Adaptation
  • Chinese Design Adaptation
  • Chinese Marketing and Communications

How to Use The Power Of New Data?

  • New Data for Campaign Tracking and Optimization
  • New Data for Customer and Market Insights

Cost Estimation for a Digital Marketing Campaign in China


  • Find a Local Partner in Digital Marketing: Social Media Marketing Agencies in China
  • Chinese KOLs and Agencies and Platforms
  • Relevant Websites

About the Author

Chris Ng吴国炜, Consultant, trommsdorff + drüner

Having graduated from the London School of Economics with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Chris moved to Beijing in 2015 for work. Chris executed various research and branding projects with the Delegation of European Union, Audi, Daimler and Volkswagen. Chris currently acts as an independent consultant for trommsdorff +drüner China office and pursues his Masters in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University under the Schwarzman Scholars Program.

Bjørn Hembre, General Manager and Founder. Branditat

With over 11 years’ experience as a strategic design consultant and with a deep understanding of the user, the cultural and the business perspective of projects, Bjørn founded Branditat to support brands in navigating the cultural context. With a background as an industrial designer, seeing things through the eyes of the user is of first priority. Bjørn has served as Experience Designer for Audi City – a new digital car showroom format, supported premium automotive brands in their brand adaption for China and further helped developed the digital sales process for various small and big companies in China and abroad.


Blake Stone-Banks 博磊, Director of Marketing Consulting, tromssdorff + drüner

Blake draws on over a decade of experience in helping brands tell their stories in China. Working in Beijing since 2006, Blake has led branding and marketing initiatives for a diverse range of clients, including Audi, Continental, Daimler, the Global Environmental Institute, Jaguar Land Rover, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen. Since 2014, Blake has served as director and general manager of the trommsdorff +drüner China office.

Rafael Jimenez, Business Development Advisor, EU SME Centre

With more than six years’ hands-on experience in managing a business in China, Rafael offers advice for European SMEs in developing practical market entry strategies in the country.

Following a career at a senior level within the F&B and ICT industry, he arrived in China in 2009 as Director of a Spanish F&B company involved in the restaurant and trade business. He helped the company set up a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in China, ran operations for three years and led a team of more than 100 employees. More recently he was Shanghai Office Director at a Management Consultancy Firm. Born in Spain, Rafael holds a bachelor of Physics and has three sons.

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