Three must ask questions for cross-border marketers – Chinese Market Edition

Question 1

What shows up when people are searching for my brand?

Most marketers are familiar with SEO. However, in China users are searching for information beyond search engines like Baidu.

Social platforms like RED, Weibo, and Zhihu are go-to search engines for different product categories. Search results on these platforms are reliant on user-generated content, thus giving it a higher authenticity factor compared to ad-filled search engines.


Question 2

Is my content channel-friendly?

Chinese social media favours specific content types and formats – and no, we’re not just talking about whether it’s a video or image.

Douyin, the popular video social channel, analyses the content and account to find the right pool of audiences to show.

So having a consistent tone and crafting content cater to your audiences (yes, even your background music!) are important. Being too creative/inconsistent on content types can be risky. Learn more about the tone/norm of the platform before getting adventurous.


Question 3

What are my local Chinese competitors doing?

Competitors analysis has always been tricky – should I compare with the category or my equals? What about the whole market?

Most cross-border brands compare themselves with other cross-border brands – often due to a similarity in operational scale and limitations.

However, local brands can definitely teach us a thing or two about the understanding of markets and channels. Brands like Wonderlab, NEIWAI and Chando are now blueprints on how local brands are competing against multinational brands in a competitive category.

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