Gemma Fernández. Journalist. @gemmafdz
China, with 618 million internet users, is the world's largest e-commerce market, and according to forecasts, it's expected to outstrip the US, Japan, the UK, Germany and France combined by 2020.
In China, e-commerce is already a way of life. Every aspect of Chinese life is online. TaoBao, China's eBay, has 80% of the market, more than 500 million clients and is used daily by more than 213 million people. Tmall, China's Amazon, accounts for 51% of the country's B2C online sales.
Spanish companies are realizing China's potential, and sectors such as tourism, fashion and wine (one of the most highly-valued products by the Chinese) are leveraging this trend as an opportunity for growth.
The report "Ten key factors for developing a successful e-commerce strategy for China and from China", published in Global Asia Magazine, a bi-monthly bilingual Spanish-Chinese magazine on economic, business and cultural aspects of relations between China, Spain and Latin America, analyses the importance of the internet for the Asian giant, and reveals the online strategies that Spanish companies should implement there.
The report specifically underlines the importance of a complete multi-channel marketing strategy which enhances online brand awareness and visibility. It also highlights that companies need to provide their target public with a value-added online purchasing experience which reinforces the value of the brand via the official site in Chinese and for China, the e-commerce site, the profile in Chinese social media and the brand's physical presence (head offices, stores, etc.).
The power of Chinese bloggers
In China, the market or, more specifically, Chinese consumers and respected bloggers, decide the value of a brand. Consumers play close attention to bloggers when making purchasing decisions,and when bloggers use certain Western brands and products, its considered a guarantee of their quality for fans.
Chinese internet users carefully read bloggers' comments and product reviews, with the result that it's extremely important for their opinion to be positive.
Leading bloggers include Xu Jinglei, China's first celebrity blogger, and a teen idol, with 132 million page visits; Xiene, with 41.05 million followers; and Lao Sha Blog, with 200 million page visits.
Positioning in Chinese search engines is synonymous with positioning in Baidu. This search engine is responsible for almost all of China's marketing campaigns and has a 70% market share.
Most shoppers in China begin their search on the internet, and before they buy anything, they consult Baidu for complete information about the brand.
Accordingly, ranking among the top 11 in Baidu, i.e. on the first page, is a necessity since 80% of people never even continue on to the second page.