China is poised to become the World’s largest consumer market, offering considerable potential to western brands. There is a rapidly maturing social and mobile media landscape, but not as we know it in the west.
China has both the largest smartphone market and social media audience of any country. For many western brands, however, engaging with this audience is problematic. Besides the obvious language barriers, the landscapes are quite different. Take social media, for example. The strict censorship laws mean that Facebook and Twitter are virtually non-existent, however channels such as renren and weibo have a massive user engagement. Digital and social commerce is more prevalent than the west, yet the largest site, Taoboa dwarfs Amazon China. Similarly with mobile, rapid adoption of both iOS (23% smartphone share) and Android (59% smartphone share) smartphones will over-take desktop usage within the next 12 months. China Mobile’s app store with over 150 million users, is the preferred destination over Apple or Google’s offerings and 2011 saw a growth in app downloads in excess of 1000%.
Some brands understand the market: Nike’s Zoom and Coca Cola’s Chok Chok campaigns offer examples of how to create mobile and social engagement in China. For brands to succeed they need to understand the landscape, integrate all digital channels and ensure that mobile devices are at the core. In order to help brands and advertising agencies understand this better, the mobile consulting partnership, Brand Emotivity has produced a guide to China (below), which includes statistics, the landscape, examples and an implementation strategy. Or you can or download it from Slideshare.