10 Ways to Optimize your Site for the Chinese Market

10 Ways to Optimize your Site for the Chinese Market

When was the last time that you dined at a Chinese restaurant, outside of China, say in Greece or Canada? Did you find forks, or chopsticks, or both on the table? Or did it seem odd asking for a chopstick, since you were in a European restaurant? Or that Western guests got forks, and Asian chopsticks?

This blog aims to discuss the issues of developing a Chinese or English/Chinese bilingual website. While it’s singularly difficult to define Chinese style or Mainland China design, and look for an all-encompassing pattern, one things assured it is not just about using traditional chopsticks or modern forks, but representing them for contemporary businesses.

The whole thing about making a strong website, tailored to the Chinese is much x`different to their western counterparts – and your website needs to reflect that.

Chinas Growth Story

With breakneck rate of change over the past decade, China has become a major driving force for the emergence of a multi-polar growth world.

An iResearch Report this year reveals that Chinas e-commerce market has hit RMB 12.3 trillion, which roughly amounts to USD 2 trillion. Global merchandising has caught the sensibilities of the Chinese consumer, who are accessing brand information, purchasing goods and acquiring services online. It also shows a significant opportunity for foreign companies looking to tap into the growing Chinese market.

To offer a seamless experience for all Chinese who visit your site, take into account the following considerations:

1:A website that speaks in Chinese

With less than 5% of the population in China being familiar with the English language, companies can leverage their chances of being among the top hits on Chinese language search engines by altering and optimizing their web content in Chinese language.

2: Developing visual communication strategies

In cases where it is rather difficult to demonstrate cultural specificity in a website, it is wise to strive for a simple, modernist design. By applying Gestalt principles in design, one can seek to manipulate human perception to promote cohesion between the Chinese and English portions of the website, should you go in for a bi-lingual one.

3: Incorporate the Renminbi option

With more than 750 million cardholders, China Union Pay is the countrys only bank card association. By establishing e-commerce sites that can accept these Union Pay cards, you are practically opening your store for a whole bunch of 750 million potential customers. Luxury brands, hotels, travel websites or healthcare, Union Pay cards play a predominant role in all kinds of online transactions.

4: Presenting a larger-chunk of information

Chinese users like to read more information on the showcased webpage and like to navigate through a maze of information before reaching the wanted piece of data.

While websites in the West do not stand to exemplify crammed content, the Chinese expect to see more detailed information within every pixel. Compare two news websites from the opposite sides of the globe and the difference is stark and stunning.


CNN website

The CNN website (a popular news website frequently accessed by the European and North American users) shows limited content on display and is supported through easy navigation.

 Chinese news website Sohu

On the other side of the coin, the Chinese news website Sohu.com is displayed with its thumbnail images and information overload.

5 : Choose the colour scheme with care

Colours are a simple yet effective way of earning the desired resonance from the target market. For example, in Chinese culture, red is the color of joy and festivity, and white the color of death. Web developers need to take care while using red and should avoid white so as to not offend web users. In addition to colours, designers must focus towards integrating cultural symbols, calligraphic elements and festivities wherever applicable.
The comparison below has been drawn between two popular e commerce sites from the West and the East and the differences speak for themselves.

6 : Is there a PayPal counterpart in the East?

The answer is of course, yes! Online payment services like Alipay and Tenpay continue to dominate the Chinese market and having them incorporated into the website is a fantastic idea to reach the conventional end users. Alipay which currently has more than 500 million users is the trusted online shopping partner for many Chinese consumers. It is a multi-purpose payment service and has a strong social media showing.

7 : Choosing a Chinese hosting service

Developing a website for the Chinese market takes more than just building it, it takes hosting your site on a Chinese server. By using a hosting service outside of China may affect your loading speeds and can have it blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

8 :On-site optimization with Baidu

A high rank on Google Search alone cannot fetch lucrative opportunities when you are in China. Baidu is the strongest search tool in the Chinese market and a website optimized for Baidu holds a first-class ticket to success.

To have Baidu favour your website, the following pointers must be satisfied.

  • Find a Chinese host and obtain a .cn or .com.cn top-level domain.
  • Translate the site into Chinese with a help of a native speaker and opt for the pinyin phonetic system.
  • Place key content on top of the webpage and include keywords in the URL.
  • Include meta tags.
  • Optimize content through appropriate use of keywords and freshly crafted original content. Also avoid the use of robots and site elements that cannot be recognized by the Baidu crawlers.

9 : Social Media Marketing

If you are taking the plunge into the e commerce market in China then you most definitely need social media marketing to prep you up. For a conventional internet user, social media would trigger brands like Facebook and Twitter. In China, however there is Sina Weibo, Youku, Renren and Qzone to take advantage of while you are targeting the Chinese consumers.

# 10: Build websites that lets one click, click and click

The Chinese love to click! Yes true, with a script that comes from the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system and takes much time and effort to be put in writing, it is no surprise that the Chinese love clicking! Websites with optimized display of text and image links are most suited for the Chinese audience.

Web developers need effective development methodologies and strategies to keep pace with the rapidly emerging business dynamics of the web, coupled with the globally accessible demands of the Chinese consumers.

Ivoryshore can help your business attend to cross-cultural communication issues and leverage Web technology to address them.