With the largest global population speaking the most commonly language in the world, China is one of the most lucrative targets for any business planning a global marketing strategy. This country has an average number of internet users that more than doubles the entire population of the United States, due in large part to strong economic growth over the past 30 years.
But the Chinese market operates in ways that can make it difficult for international organizations to reach a target audience inside the vast, diverse nation. The methods your business uses to navigate these differences will determine how much marketing success you have in China. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin strategizing your entrance into the Chinese market.
Chinese SEO is Completely Different
Just like Russia, Google doesn’t have the same dominant place on the web in China as it does in most other parts of the world . Baidu, founded in 2000, is the massively popular search engine that by most estimates is used by over 90% of internet users in China.
And the rules for ranking well on Baidu are very different from Google’s. For your business to be visible on the web for Chinese consumers, your website has to be both hosted on Chinese servers and completely translated and localized into Simplified Chinese. Baidu also values paid content more highly than Google.
Other things to consider include the fact Baidu’s crawler is not as sophisticated as Google’s. This means that flatter, simpler websites with a large amount of easy to find content will do well. On Chinese versions of your website, try and minimize the number of clicks it takes for a user to reach your content.
Digital Global Marketing has to Follow A Lot of Rules
In order to rank on Baidu and maintain an effective web presence, it’s important to follow all of China’s unique rules regarding advertising and content which are enforced by the Cyberspace Administration.
China maintains very strict censorship laws on the internet. Chinese citizens cannot legally access Facebook, Youtube or Twitter. Along with that, the government has a long list of words and phrases that are outright banned on the web.
Chinese censorship rules also don’t look kindly on common marketing claims such as products being called “the best on the market” or “the number one choice.” Claims like that can get your business blocked from the Chinese internet for false statements.
Translating Chinese is an Intricate Task
Chinese is a notoriously difficult language to translate well. The character system and radical differences in sentence structure and word order have made it a troublesome target language for both humans and machines.
When writing copy for marketing materials or other copy that will require translation, follow all of the rules of global writing. Some of the most important guidelines to follow when writing for Chinese translation are to keep sentences short and to avoid passive verbs.
The demands of Chinese translation also mean that machine translation, even the latest developments in technology, won’t be able to do the job on their own. Always work with native translators who will be able to catch details that machines cannot, especially when it comes to making translated text sound natural to local Chinese consumers.
Follow the rules, manage your web presence and translations carefully and your global marketing work will go far in this hugely important market.