Building a Website in China

Sharpmonkeys have been working away – after some organisation, a bit of research and getting in touch with the right people we are delighted to announce we can now offer you a website in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and/or Japan. We have a range of service available for buying domain names, hosting services, website and eCommerce solutions in the Far East.

There is plenty you need to consider when building a website in the Middle Kingdom. Some things obvious, some slightly more discreet that may not have occurred to you. It’s also worth noting that infiltrating the Chinese market can be incredibly rewarding, but we’ll get on to that. Firstly, let me lay down some considerations that are worth taking note of:

Social Media is very different

I’ve covered this in another blog post but it’s worth reiterating. If you think it’s as simple as marketing towards the Chinese on your go-to social media platforms such as Facebook/Twitter, you’re very wrong.

They don’t use Twitter, they use Sina weibo. They don’t use Facebook, they use Renren. They don’t use Youtube, they use Youku. You get the point.


Hooray! – everything you know about Google SEO is now completely useless! Well, not really but China’s equivalent ‘Baidu’ is a different kettle of fish.

Now, you’ll be happy to know that although there are a number of differences between Baidu and Google, keywords isn’t one of them. The same system applies to that of your local company website. Title tags and meta descriptions are still recognised and extremely important when dealing with Baidu.

It is extremely important that you make sure your Chinese website design is as accessible to as many users as possible within the Chinese market. If you localise your page then the website will run much smoother and faster, making it much more appealing to the viewer. When websites are set up outside the Great Wall of China, connections tend to be slower and less efficient.

Censorship in China is not a joke

Ah, the Great Firewall of China. It’s a concept that receives mixed perception in China, and we can understand why. The sheer idea of censoring the internet to the extent that they do goes against everything I personally find beautiful about the internet.

If an Internet user in China searches for the word “persecution,” he or she is likely to come up with a link to a blank screen that says “page cannot be displayed.”

The same is true of searches for “Tibetan independence,” “democracy movements” or stranger sounding terms such as “oriental red space time” — code for an anti-censorship video made secretly by reporters at China’s state TV station.

Web Browser Compatibility

It pains me to say this, but China love Internet Explorer. It is the leading browser in China being used by 50% of web users. If you don’t optimise your site for IE, you’re in trouble. Internet explorer or IE is often complained for sometimes being slow and having page loading problems.Most of these issues are generally caused by presence of lot of temporary files and cookies which are clogging up IE and slowing it down. Other issues include conflicts with add-ons and file corruption. Even though all issues cannot be fixed by this method, almost 95% of most IE related issues can be fixed by doing an Internet explorer optimization.

Why should I market in China?

I appreciate that you’re now probably wondering why on earth anyone in their right mind would voluntarily market in China. Well, it happens to be incredibly rewarding. Their 1.3 billion population is a good enough reason on its own.

In fact, not only are Chinese marketers convince that digital is a path to competitive advantage, 97% of Chi­nese marketers, compared to 81% last year, said they were putting their faith in the busi­ness ben­e­fits of digital marketing. Respon­dents from China are telling us that they’re ready to bring dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing to the next level, learn­ing more about how to apply mea­sure­ment and ana­lyt­ics to build stronger busi­ness cases to encour­age more investment.

Let me throw some stats at you:

  • China mobile bank transactions in Q3 2013 reached 3.7 trillion yuan (GBP 392 billion),with a 35.9% QoQ increase.
  • Take ecommerce by itself, at the end of June 30 2013, China ecommerce transactions hit 4.4 trillion yuan (GBP 463 billion). This is up 24.3% compared to last year.
  • B2B transactions themselves hit 3.4 trillion yuan (GBP 357 billion), a 15.3% YoY increase.

It’s pretty clear to see that there is a lot of money to be earned, incomprehensible amounts.

Even though 77%  of Chinese marketers  spend less than 24% of their total marketing budget on dig­i­tal marketing, which is about the same as the regional average of 71%, Chinese marketers are more positive about their chances of boosting investment in the future. 40% of Chinese respondents are planning to increase their budget to align with or even exceed the global average in 2014. It will be interesting to see if this confidence brings the desired results.

On the other hand, China lags behind the regional average regard­ing mea­sure­ment and analy­sis. Up to 27% of respon­dents are not mea­sur­ing the results of dig­i­tal cam­paigns and ini­tia­tives at all.  Of those mea­sur­ing their results, 57% of respon­dents con­firmed they are using marketing analytics and reporting tech­nolo­gies. Although it increased from 33% in 2012, this is still far behind the regional aver­age of 80%.

China’s market isn’t untapped, but it does provide you with a wealth of opportunity for creativity and, of course, money.

If you feel you need a helping hand with your digital marketing make sure you get in touch. Sharpmonkeys is a digital marketing agency based in Worcester.