China is a huge market and is one of the most important markets to enter for any business. In recent years, the very high level of digitization is the growth of the middle class have created a particularly fertile ground for B2C. Indeed, Chinese consumers love foreign products and spend more on luxury items, direct selling is facilitated by cross-border e-commerce platforms and collaborations with influencers.
One wonders, in this variegated digital ecosystem what space remains for B2B?
Let’s start with some data:
The size of China’s online B2B market was 3 trillion yuan (about $ 426 billion) in 2019 (source iiMedia ) and should reach 13 trillion by 2025, in short, it’s a huge market.
B2B companies have also been revolutionized by the rapid digitization of Chinese society. Before covid, B2B activities were mainly based on word of mouth and traditional commercial networks, “social media” are now at the center of B2B strategies.
96% of B2B customers will search for suppliers on the internet, further widening the gap between companies that have little online visibility.
As always, it is crucial to understand that the digital landscape is completely different from Western countries
It may sound counterintuitive, but social media are great channels for B2B marketing in China. Professionals tend to check if the brand already exists in China or if they will have to do all the work from scratch – obviously preferring the former.
Let’s see some platforms valid for B2B:
WeChat is the largest social network and online messaging platform in China.
What makes WeChat particularly suitable for B2B is the high level of interaction and targeting that you can have with your followers, in addition to the fact that the platform is proposed as a kind of “site” in which it is possible to have a static menu with all information crucial to your brand, including products and business contacts.
WeChat is highly based on the use of communities: groups of people who come together to talk or share content on a certain topic. Importers and buyers join these groups to discover all the latest news, so working with the right communities can give you extremely targeted and effective visibility.
Another very useful tool on WeChat is H5 pages. These are real web pages designed to move around the WeChat ecosystem and to be usable via mobile. The H5 pages allow you to create anything: catalogs, timed games, flyers … the only limit is your imagination – and the skill of your editor!
Baidu is another flagship platform for B2B marketing in China. It currently has more than 220 million daily active users and is China’s largest search engine. Impressive, isn’t it?
Additionally, Baidu is known for having a better algorithm for interpreting Chinese text more effectively than alternative search engines and offering access to the world’s largest index of Chinese web pages. This means that the number of Chinese companies that will use Baidu to search for products and services, your products and services, is enormous.
Toutiao (“Today’s Headlines”) is China’s leading news app, with over 272 million daily active users.
It is a content aggregation and distribution app, which uses state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to present users with only the most relevant content. It is especially effective if you have a blog where you talk about your products and their use.
This app’s AI algorithms analyze users’ activities and reading habits to generate a personalized feed that includes only the type of media that falls within their personal range of interests. This can include videos, ads and articles. The goal is to get the maximum involvement of readers, even B2B.
Finally, there is no B2B more effective than contacting your target audience directly through social channels. Digital PR has become particularly important in the Covid era, where it is more difficult to schedule business meetings and attend trade shows and events in China. Obviously in this case you have to rely on digital agencies specialized in your sector.
As always, the right platform depends on the right strategy, if you want to know how to reach your B2B customers through digital channels, contact us!