How to Market to Chinese Buyers Online

To sell products to Chinese consumers, you must take into consideration a number of factors, including language, culture, and most importantly, marketing strategy.

In recent years, with the development of e-commerce in China, more and more foreigners are discovering the immense potential of Chinese online markets. If you’re looking to enter the Chinese market, then you should research the potential buyers’ preferences and behaviour, as well as the industry challenges that you might face.

The following discusses the various elements of a successful marketing approach for products marketed to Chinese consumers.


In order to effectively market your products to Chinese consumers, you must consider the fact that they might not be able to easily understand you. This issue is compounded by the fact that you might not be able to communicate with them in their native tongue. Since the majority of Chinese people use simplified Chinese characters (often called ‘pinyin’), it can be difficult to craft marketing materials in Chinese.

The good news is that with a little bit of know-how and dedication, you can market your products to Chinese consumers and effectively penetrate the market. You should develop a few key phrases in Chinese that you can use in your marketing materials, in email signatures, and even in online reviews. You will also need to learn how to read some Chinese characters; there are only so many characters in the English alphabet, but there are nearly 20,000 characters in the Chinese alphabet. With just a little bit of memorization, you will be able to figure out what is being said without too much effort. You should also consider learning how to speak Chinese; being able to converse with customers in their language will undoubtedly improve your relationship with them and will make them feel more comfortable buying from you.


As mentioned above, since the majority of Chinese people use simplified Chinese characters, you might find that the texts that you are using in your marketing materials end up looking a little bit like Chinese calligraphy. Even if you’re a native English speaker, it might be difficult to create culturally appropriate content for Chinese consumers. Additionally, since China is a rather homogeneous country, your marketing materials might not resonate with all Chinese consumers. It is therefore a good idea to look for the cultural groups that you think might benefit from your products and to tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.


With any new market, it is important to devise a plan before you dive in. In the case of China, you will need to do a bit of strategic thinking in order to effectively target the market and understand the competition. Fortunately for you, we have done some of this thinking for you. Below we have listed several key considerations that you need to make when you are developing a marketing strategy for China.

Go Big Or Go Home

Firstly, when developing your marketing strategy for China, you should go big or go home. This basically means that you should either go all-out, and make the most of Chinese e-commerce markets, or you should stay far away from this market and concentrate on other international markets. The reason for this is that the Chinese market is fairly small, and unless you are prepared to make the most of this market, you are better off not entering it. Additionally, since the Chinese e-commerce market is still young, there is a lot of competition, and you must be prepared to spend a lot of money on marketing in order to stand out from the crowd.

Which Currency Should You Use?

When determining the currency that you will use to charge your customers in China, you should consider using either the Renminbi (RMB) or the Yuan. As a general rule, whenever possible, it is best to use your own currency rather than foreign currencies when dealing with customers from abroad. This is especially the case when selling to China as you must use Chinese currency. If you are looking to raise your productivity and offer better value for your customers, then using your own currency is the way to go. Additionally, there are a variety of payment methods available for the Chinese e-commerce market, so you can charge your customers in whatever way suits you best. You should consider using credit cards or Paypal as your primary method of payment.

Is Free Shipping Enough?

Another key consideration when marketing to Chinese consumers is the issue of free shipping. Since so many Chinese people are now searching for products online, and since the competition in this market is fierce, you must be prepared to offer free shipping if you want to win customers. However, you must understand that this is not an easy feat, especially if you are a small business. You will need to devise a plan and work hard in order to make this strategy successful. The key is to offer free shipping as often as possible – if you can get it for free then why not? – and to make sure that you communicate this freely to your customers. Additionally, you should look into the fact that many Chinese consumers are more than happy to pay a little more for convenience. So, even though you might not need to in order to offer free shipping, it is always a good idea to ask for it.

The Importance Of Online Reviews

When marketing your products to Chinese consumers, you must remember that they are increasingly relying on reviews when making purchasing decisions. This is especially the case for luxury products where quality is key. Fortunately, you can encourage customers to leave reviews by simply offering some free publicity on your behalf. In the case of luxury products, having a number of glowing reviews can boost your marketing and help generate more sales. Additionally, if a customer has had a bad experience, then this can also be used as negative material that you can use for marketing purposes. Ensure that these reviews are authentic and that they represent the customers’ genuine opinions – as long as they are not paid for them, then there is no reason to suspect that they are not genuine.

The Growth Of Online Markets In China

Finally, we would like to note that the growth of online markets in China is nothing short of astonishing. Only a few years ago, shopping for Chinese goods meant going to crowded malls and buying whatever was on sale. However, the growth of online markets in China has meant that this has changed completely; today, shoppers can search for the products that they want and compare prices and quality without ever having to leave their homes. This development has certainly helped to fuel the success of online marketing in China and has shown that even small businesses can flourish in this market.

Developing a marketing strategy for China can be challenging, but with a little bit of planning and research, you will be able to see great results. Once you do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t market your products in China sooner!