As much as merchants in China are wanting to get their products in front of us, many local merchants are clamoring to get their wares noticed over there too.
China is a massive market, one that is increasingly opening up. With a population of well over 1.3 billion; it will eventually make the US market look small by comparison as increasing numbers of Chinese become prosperous.
So how do you get products in front of people in China? One way is Todou; China’s equivalent to YouTube (but oddly enough, translates to Potato Net) and the other is Weibo.
The power of Todou was realised by Australia’s ABC recently after they ran a news item on China’s “fu er dai”; a generation of young ‘uns with cash to burn.
The segment was posted by someone on Todou, which sparked of a flurry of views and reposts of links to the segment elsewhere; particularly on Weibo – China’s Facebook/Twitter hybrid.
Purely on Todou alone, the item has racked up an approximate 7.5 million Chinese views. That’s nearly equivalent to a third of Australia’s population. To say the ABC are chuffed is probably a bit of an understatement; especially since they did absolutely nothing to promote the segment in China.
The average US/Ca/UK/AU merchant is unlikely to have such luck; so they’ll need to be a bit more proactive. As Todou and Weibo don’t have an English interface (I’m not even sure if folks outside China can sign up); now is a very good time to start cultivating relationships with those familiar with the language.
However, as we’ve seen with some poor and sometimes hilarious attempts from Chinese merchants to pitch their products to us; it’s more than just understanding the language that will see you gain success in China. Cultural awareness will be equally, if not more important, which includes the crucial concept of Guanxi (connections). This is where engaging a cultural consultant may be invaluable.
Even if you’re not interested in selling products in China, the ABC story about their success with the segment (and the segment itself) make for very interesting reading and viewing.