Wednesday, February 19, 2014

China houses some 500 million smartphone users, which unsurprisingly has dramatically changed how Chinese consumers purchase products. Their commercial economy responded to this change using assorted mobile marketing strategies similar to those created in the U.S. and Europe. Now the question is whether such tactics will work as effectively in China as they do in the western world, or if fine-tuning is required.

Several similarities exist between Chinese and international mobile markets, including how most of China’s smartphone users surf the web via smartphones, regardless of location. SMS is as popular in China as it is in the rest of the world, with 71% of businesses utilizing texts for mobile marketing campaigns.

Despite these similarities, recent Experian research found that out of 321 businesses across a variety of industries, only 36% of Chinese enterprises had opted for mobile marketing. This is compared to 65% of Hong Kong enterprises who went the mobile marketing route.

The country still clings to “old-fashioned” forms of advertising, with paper mail the overwhelming favorite over email. However, SMS has a 61% adoption rate, and nearly 90% of businesses deem this type of marketing highly effective.

The future of China’s mobile marketing industry is looking good, and Apple recently announced their prediction of 10 million iPhones sold worldwide in 2014. Yet Chinese consumers prefer large-screen devices for checking email, streaming music and videos, and otherwise browsing the web. As a result, Apple may create two larger iPhones this year.

As China remains a significant, ever-expanding market, understanding what appeals to Chinese consumers and making mobile marketing adjustments as needed is definitely a worthwhile project!