Recent surveys in US, UK and Australia have shown a very interesting finding when comes to strategies in fighting off economic downturn – contrary to what most people have thought, cost cutting initiatives such ash reduction in outputs or staff retrenchment are actually not really on the top list.
Right on the top of the list are price reduction to encourage more sales, adjust marketing costs, such as increasing spending on digital marketing instead of commercial TV broadcasting, but one area that was highlighted is increasing export activities.
US companies in particular have been stepping up their efforts to boost export opportunities – a good example is to see increasing number of State Offices setting up their Business Promotion Representatives offices across China, as well as sports franchises such as MLB and NAB all conducting exhibition games in China.
Although China is showing severe signs of slowing down in economy, it is still expected to report a 6% to 8% growth this year, their Government has projected an ambitious 8% growth for this year, still a big slow down compared to 11% growth achieved only 12 months ago. But any growth in today’s economy is still remarkable, and with its massive population of the middle class population and the fact that China has over 100 cities that has population over 1 million, it is a market not to be missed by exporters.
But what are some of the easy steps to explore business opportunities in China, when comes to international marketing, when comes to exporting, is it always a very expensive and tedious process?
Not so, especially with today’s Internet technology, the cost in exporting has come down a lot.
International Marketing is the priority when comes to exporting – and this should be conducted way before you export your first product or service. International Marketing is not Advertising, it is much more than that as it includes branding, messaging, press releases as well as the market research components to identify and reach your target audiences.
1. Create a Chinese version website
I can not emphasize how important it is to set up a Chinese version website for your company as a first step. The vast majority of Asian consumers are Internet savvy, and Internet is a big part of their everyday life, the average time spent on Internet in Asia is significantly higher than western countries.
And of course, majority of them do not know much English, so if your website is only in English, they are unlikely to be reached and worst, unlikely to be listed on many search engines.
2. Ensure your website can be found on Chinese language search engines
The search engine market in Asia is highly fragmented, with Google only has a small market share. Then, in each market, this is further segmented, in Taiwan, Yahoo is popular, in China, there is not really a clear market leader, Baidu, Sohu and Sina kind of share the biggest market share, but it depends on the industry and also target markets.
Ensure you have submitted your websites IN CHINESE to ensure they are listed on these search engines.
3. Use Websites in other Greater Chinese Markets
Chinese consumers are very interesting consumers – they have been using a lot of websites from Hong Kong and Taiwan as a source for information, especially when comes to the latest fashion or personal care products. Websites in these markets are also in liberal states where Internet censorship and government are less likely to occur.
4. Chinese version Press Releases
Make as many releases as possible – that’s the secret, the more press releases you make in Chinese, the bigger the coverage. Consumers will always try to find more about your company through press releases.
5. Blogs in Asia
A very useful technique in Asia – there are literally millions of Blogs in Asia, but they are very relevant and the traffic is really high. Most of the popular Blog are found under popular search engine or news websites. You will see many press releases have been posted on Blogs rather than news websites sometimes.
Blogs play a very important part of web marketing in Asia, this is perhaps reflected in the culture where they like to hear others’ opinions rather than finding out themselves. Smart companies, such as some personal care or cosmetics companies have been using Blogs as advertising tool before they launch into other web marketing activities in Asia.