There is no better time to maximize your online presence in the China market. The economy is ripe for foreign goods and services, and web and mobile media consumption is at an all-time high. That said, the complexities of the internet ecosystem cannot be understated and must be addressed with a high level of diligence.
Before we dig into what to avoid in your foray into marketing to China, it is important that we address the context:
It is no secret that, since 2012, China has experienced an economic slowdown that has periodically sent shockwaves through key industries like trade, heavy manufacturing, real estate, etc. The steady decline evidenced an unsustainable growth model with a questionable outlook. Despite this, the economic boom of the first decade of the 2000s gave birth to a rising middle class and thus a population with a significantly greater disposable income.
2015 marked China’s formal transition from a production-based to a consumption-based economy. Chinese nationals have more money to spend on things they previously would not have been able to buy. Foreign goods and services are respected for their quality and ingenuity, and in general are experiencing significant sales growth in the mainland China markets. The millennial segment, which is the demographic comprised of the most active spenders, is showing no signs of slowing down.
So, you want to get online in China? The process may not be as cut and dry as you think. Below are the top 5 often overlooked critical components for establishing a strong online presence in the world's most challenging internet environment:
Using your existing CDN with the assumption that it works in China
Your current global CDN may make claims as to their performance in China, but, without them having an official operating agreement with the Chinese government, they are subject to being blocked. Check out what happened to Verizon’s Edgecast.
Not anticipating the breadth and scope of the great firewall
Yes, it most certainly exists. And without delivering your content through a Chinese government-licensed CDN, there is no way to guarantee that your content will end up on the good side of the Firewall. Successfully navigating the firewall can be challenging, but with proper execution is entirely possible.
Not understanding compliance issues
You won’t be able to deliver through a government-licensed CDN unless your entity has acquired the necessary Internet Content Provider (ICP) license. Check out our White Paper on the topic, and gain a more in-depth understanding from this article.
Not localizing your content
Having an ICP and delivering through a government-licensed CDN will get you online and behind the firewall, but adapting your content to your target market in China is crucial. In the long run, it is well worth the effort to do the necessary research and adjust content accordingly. Here is an excellent resource with real-world examples.
Not staying up-to-date with consumer trends
Properly localizing your content is only half the battle. It is critical that your company remains informed on the current and future market trends. Don’t be blindsided by this uniquely fast-paced and constantly evolving market. McKinsey is a prime example of an accredited institution that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
ChinaCache is a nationally-licensed CDN with over 500 Points of Presence in Mainland China. We offer customized content delivery solutions for China and globally, including ICP licensing. Contact Us for more information.