Anyone will tell you that in order to succeed in business, you need to know your audience. But although understanding your audience in your home context can be readily achieved with the right resources, understanding a foreign audience can be far more difficult.

When it comes to understanding and appealing to consumers in China, the first thing to recognise is that it’s not enough to simply translate your existing marketing materials and content into Chinese.

Effective marketing to China is about more than just bridging the language gap: it’s about bridging cultures. To do this, you need to be able to get your message across both in a language that your audience understands, and in a way that’s culturally and contextually relevant.

The importance of appropriately qualified copywriters

A straight translation from English to Chinese isn’t likely to produce copy that is engaging, relevant or compelling. Using a NATI-certified translator will mean that your message is precisely translated into the target language.

A bilingual copywriter, however, will understand the nuances of both the original English content and the target translation, and will be able to re-write the relevant materials using local expressions and common phrases.

The need to be culturally relevant

To successfully bridge the English and Chinese markets and create compelling, engaging content that sells, you’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Chinese values, culture and identity.
  • The design aesthetics that appeal to your audience.

An understanding of your intended audience within China is also key. China is an enormous country with distinct regions and language usage, and you’ll need to know exactly who you’re targeting before embarking upon a marketing campaign.

Is your audience composed of Mandarin speakers in Beijing, for example, or Cantonese speakers in the southern provinces? The approach you need to take in these areas will be different to the approach you would use for a target audience based in Hong Kong or Taiwan. It’s all about localisation.

Be aware of China’s stringent marketing legislation

There’s one additional factor that you’ll need to consider before signing off on a marketing campaign.

The localisation of materials for a Chinese audience goes beyond the linguistic and cultural contexts to something purely pragmatic: the strict government legislation surrounding marketing materials.

These policies are a key reason for many foreign-owned businesses choosing to seek the advice of specialist firms or consultants before proceeding with a marketing campaign in China.

Our team is experienced in helping western businesses succeed in the Chinese contexts through high quality bi-lingual copywriting, and a deep-seated awareness of China’s culture and advertising legislation.

To ensure that your push into China is as effective as it can be, speak with one of the consultants in our China Online Marketing division.

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