The year 2020 and the spread of the Covid-19 virus worldwide has put us to the test, not only in terms of health but also economically. Many businesses have not been able to hold out and turn things around in the face of closure which has led to increased unemployment.
However in China, the country where the virus was first discovered, trade, consumers and the economy in general have not suffered enormously and have even continued its economic growth. In this article, we will discover how China has resisted this global economic disaster and how other countries can learn from it.
Even today, in November 2020, many are experiencing a second lockdown, which is therefore synonymous with remote working, closed businesses, and limited consumption, but not for everyone! Indeed, online businesses are not suffering from the expected drop in sales and have even taken advantage of the situation to continue to survive. The importance of being present online today is more than essential in order to survive the pandemic but above all to adapt to new modes of consumption in the future.
China is proof of this and is a digitalized country where most purchases are already made online and delivered instantly such as food, drinks, groceries, clothes, electronic devices and others. It is thanks to this massive digitalization that the Chinese population has survived the possible economic collapse caused by the general lockdowns.
HI-COM is a translation and communication agency with consultants specialized in the Chinese market to help international companies to develop digitally and on the various platforms and Chinese social networks in order to successfully integrate your brand or company in the Chinese market in the Covid era.
Case of EUROPE
Since March 2020, the Covid-19 virus has been present in France and Europe, which led to France and other European countries being locked down for a period of 2 months. Thus, during this first lockdown, companies had to look for solutions so that employees could continue to work and this is where the concept of remote working took its full meaning. Indeed, partial remote working was a known practice in some companies; it allows the freedom for employees to choose if they want to be at the office, working from home or both. Nevertheless, this practice was not widespread.
Thus, the virus forced many people to work from home and to learn to work in a different way, such as organizing meetings and conferences through ZOOM and communicating remotely.
In order to ensure that the openness and work of some companies was maintained, the importance of developing digitally, especially in this period of crisis, was more than important. In addition, many people at the end of the first lockdown fully adopted remote working, justifying that it was much more efficient with less distraction and greater concentration. This is why it is necessary to take advantage of this context to be present more than ever on the different platforms, to make one’s brand known and to develop it by making it accessible.
Finally, an increased presence of companies online necessarily involves social networks. Social networks are the way to stay in touch with customers and keep them informed of your news, new trends and projects. It is therefore a tool to be favored and put forward for brands to continue to boost business despite the health crisis, especially since social networks today can have the double role of communication but also online commerce with devices put in place to buy products directly.
Nevertheless, as mentioned in the introduction of this article, all this is not new for China which has been using digitalization and social networks for several years and with success. More than one billion Chinese people are connected to the WeChat application that allows them to communicate with each other but also with brands, to consume their products, to be entertained with the lives of their favorite KOL (influencers) while pushing the consumption of the products highlighted but also access to several applications without even leaving WeChat. Thus, online consumption and social networks are not reserved for the young Chinese population and a wealthy population, on the contrary, everyone uses them and must use them to consume their products on a daily basis or pay their rent and electricity.
From a business point of view, in this context of digital development, the Chinese market offers huge opportunities. Nevertheless in China, the context is different from the one we know in Europe, that’s why HI-COM is there to support you in the introduction of your brand in China.
2) Case of China
China was able to develop long before the epidemic, with a widespread use of applications and social networks among its entire population! Indeed, in China, any action requires the use of an application, whether to pay your electricity, register with the police, make an appointment or consult your medical file … everything is digitalized !!!
Thanks to this system it has become normal for both young and old Chinese people to consume everything with their phone, thanks to QR codes, replacing the credit card.
Moreover their payment applications are also full-fledged social networks like WeChat. WeChat is an instant messaging application, with which you can order, consume and chat without moving from the application. Social networks are also very present in the daily life of Chinese consumers. There are other full-fledged Chinese platforms such as RED (XiaoHongShu), Douyin (Tik Tok), or Weibo. These social networks allow consumers to be close to their favorite brand by following all their communication and being close to their KOL which represent the brand.
Thus, in China, the brand-consumer link is quite close and powerful and thus allows to create a complicity that cannot be created by other means.
3) E-commerce in China. : a sector in continuous growth
The turnover of e-commerce in China would amount to 1.94 trillion dollars *according to the report published by the American research firm eMarketer! In addition, China presented this year a continuous growth of 5% !!! Thus, despite the global pandemic that has hit all the world’s businesses, China is not slackening and continues to expand its progress!
E-commerce in China is mainly symbolized by several events: KOL’s live streams and the online sales realized during the 11.11.
– KOL MARKETING
KOLs in China represent Chinese influencers whose main activity is to animate livestreams on live applications: WeChat, Taobao etc. in order to promote products. Chinese consumers can also follow their favorite KOL pages and news. Influencers make a point of honor that all the promoted products have been tested and validated by the influencers themselves. Thus, Chinese consumers have blind confidence in the products presented and will therefore consume many products promoted during these live streams which are also accompanied by promotions with aid purchases.
Currently the number 1 male KOL is Austin Li! He has more than 50 million subscribers and his sales record is 15,000 lipstick tubes sold in only 5 minutes!
As for Viya, she is the number 1 women’s KOL and live seller on Taobao! She made a turnover of more than 19 million Yuan in only 5 hours !!!
Becky Li is the first influencer on WeChat! She made history by selling 100 customizable Mini Cooper cars in less than 5 minutes!
Finally Zola Zhang ! This KOL is known for her page “It was Zola” which alone brought her 5.2 million Euros in sales in 2019.
Thus, KOL marketing is an important component of online commerce in China, which is why it is important for foreign brands to be present on Chinese social networks and to know and master the KOL industry.
HI-COM is able to represent you with KOL to promote your brand in China.
– 11.11 : Important day for e-commerce in China
November 11th or more commonly known as Double 11 is Singles Day! To celebrate this day, China is planning a large number of discounts across all industries!
This is the largest online promotion event ever held, with numbers exceeding those of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, which shows the importance of this event to e-commerce!
Alibaba’s various platforms have thus seen a turnover of 372.3 billion Yuan (47.7 billion euros) this year since November 1st,
Alibaba traditionally announces a new sales record on November 11th. Last year, he reported a turnover of 268.4 billion Yuan (34.74 billion Euros) in 24 hours, up 26% over the previous year.
Thus, the growth of online commerce in China shows the importance of being present and developing on social networks to continue to boost sales and business and take advantage of this context to change your habits when a foreign brand or company!
5) Social networks and digital marketing
As you will have understood, to survive the new ecosystem we are facing, and to succeed in the Chinese market to take advantage of the various opportunities, it is essential to rely on social networks and digital marketing.
Chinese applications are very different from those known and used in Europe. Indeed, in China, the Chinese don’t have access to Instagram or Facebook or Youtube, that’s why they have created their own application used by a large part of the population.
Thus HI-COM is able to help you to develop and write in Chinese on these social networks. Among the different actions we will help you to :
- Configure your social networks
- Establish a strategy
- Analysis of overall performance
- Analysis of the competition
But also for the creation of your content, the management of your community or the sponsoring of campaigns.
As indicated, HI-COM is able to present you KOL in order to get a promotion of your products on certain social networks. But also in the implementation of strategy on WeChat, Xiaohongshu, Weibo or livestream.