China currently exists as one of the most desired markets in the global business world. With E-Commerce on its current rise globally, the key then, is finding a way to reach China’s online customer base. As of 2009, China had roughly 384 million internet users, and that number is expected to hit 650 million in 2015. It’s safe to say that many online retailers around the globe are seeking a way to penetrate China’s market. The best way to do this is to gain a better understanding of the consumers they’re trying to sell to.
There are a fair number of obstacles facing the prospective E-Entrepreneur in China. For one, the government has imposed a number of restrictions and regulations on what kind of transactions can take place, as well as the number of such transactions. The government is also liable to impart these restrictions and regulations when it so desires. Furthermore, there are a number of Chinese companies which have already begun cornering the market on Chinese consumers. Tencent, Alibaba.com, and Sohu have all had a fair amount of success in China, due to their ability to appeal to the Chinese consumer. So what are some of the things they do that multinational companies seeking to do business in China can learn from?
For one, they are on the Internet- a lot! Almost all university students and professionals aged 22-35 (a key demographic!) are online four hours a day on average. Another difference is that while most people in other countries use the Internet for email and information hunting, the Chinese use it for communication. Much like Facebook messenger, QQ is an instant-messaging service that a large percentage of Chinese people use. There are currently 523-million QQ accounts in China. QQ has evolved over time, with parent company Tencent offering games to go along with the social networking aspect of the site. In return they get revenue from the game companies, in addition to advertising revenue, as users will stay on QQ for hours-and-hours on end.
Lastly, while E-Commerce is a fast-growing trend in many other countries, it’s already close to being the norm in China. Roughly 49 percent of young professionals shop online, and the things they’re buying range from music and films to apparel, and even baby care! In short, China is a market ripe for the taking, if one can win the attention of the Chinese consumer base.