B2B IN CHINA IN THE DIGITAL AGE
NEW WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR B2B PRACTICES IN CHINA
The traditional way of doing Business (B2B) in China is through cold calls or exhibitions. Another major way of doing business in China is via ‘’Guanxi’’ – having the right connections, knowing the right people drinking a lot of Baijiu.
BUSINESS IN CHINA IN THE DIGITAL AGE
With the rise of the internet and the growth of digital marketing, the practices mentioned above have become increasingly sidelined. Using online tools instead, and looking for a more comprehensive, highly visible, online presence. Business owners do their research online and if you are worth their attention then, and only then, will they invite you to share drinks.
HOW HAS THE INTERNET CHANGED THE B2B WORLD IN CHINA?
The focus is now on digital, online strategies. With the help of the internet, it is easier to search, identify and compare quality suppliers. Because Chinese consumers review and comment, it is especially easy to gain feedback. You can check information about companies to ensure they are trustworthy and provide legitimate services. Online buyers also learn how to get the best offers and use a variety of techniques in order to manage their suppliers more effectively.
CHANGING GENERATIONS: THE RISE OF THE MILLENNIALS
The new generation of business managers was born after 1980. They are accustomed to searching and checking information online. This was made possible with the rise of communication applications such as WeChat.
The anti-corruption campaign started by Xi Jinping has most significantly affected the minds of Chinese people. Especially the younger generation who grew up in this anti-corruption era.
TRUST IS THE BASE OF B2B IN CHINA
What are the new ways of doing business and attracting customers in China?
A HIGH-QUALITY WEBSITE IN CHINESE
Having a professional website in Mandarin is very important in China. Distributors/buying agents/Business owners are becoming more sensitive to a well-designed website. Clear offers, intuitive navigation, persuasive information – these are critical aspects. Everything on your website should demonstrate the advantages of being involved with your business. Website content should be translated into Mandarin with Chinese-specific imagery.
SHOW THAT YOU ARE AN EXPERT WITH QUALITY CONTENT
Content-based marketing became significantly more important in China. Publish high-quality content on your website and your WeChat account to demonstrate your level of expertise. Buyers like to see practical tips and well-produced content from their suppliers. It is a good way to promote your best business practice to potential Chinese buyers and make a difference with your competitors.
COMPETITION-CHINA B2B IN CHINA
Highest quality traffic comes from Chinese searching Engines: More specifically Organic Traffic.
In B2B, the qualified traffic comes directly from online research. Anyone will initially search for keywords via the Chinese search engine ‘’Baidu’’ which is the number one search engine in China.
- Your Baidu ranking will depend on criteria such as:
- Your content (see above)
- Website optimization for Baidu
- The Trust-rank of your website can be improved with backlinks & regular content
- Biadu PPC Efficient?
- Paid results or PPC (pay per click) is good because it results in instant traffic, but the quality of the traffic is often lower than what you would get organically. Which professionals click on Ads? Very few. Organic traffic is based on natural search results.
Most Chinese buyers search on forums as part of their research. Chinese often put their trust in other users and are scared to be cheated. No one likes to be scammed and lose face. On the forums, they can get information about a company. Because people trust forums and user reviews, they should be part of your online marketing strategy.
Well-run, it will result in user-generated content (UGC). This content often ranks highly on Baidu and is highly trusted. Forums are perfect to build organic brand awareness and e-reputation.
CHINA PAID ADVERTISING & NATIVE ADS
Paid advertising is a reasonable solution for B2B companies that wish to grow in China. Paid ads are particularly effective when combined with SEO and should be prioritized when getting started in order to drive traffic to your website.
THERE ARE MANY PLATFORMS IN CHINA FOR PAID ADS; HERE ARE OUR FAVORITE FOR B2B:
- WeChat for B2B in China
WeChat is omnipresent in China but for B2B, it is not useful in terms of increasing your visibility. Rather, it is a good tool to keep in contact with your prospective clients. It is also a way to improve word of mouth and connect with your prospective clients. WeChat is more like a newsletter.
Having a nice introduction about your company on WeChat can be good for those to share your company information with their contacts.
WECHAT H5 BROCHURE
Most Chinese companies do not have paper brochures, they prefer to share information with a WeChat brochure. A WeChat brochure is easy to share and expected in the Chinese B2B-world.
In B2B, people prefer to send information and quotations via WeChat.
EMAILS DO NOT WORK IN CHINA. WHY? PEOPLE DO NOT READ THEIR EMAILS. EMAILING IS NOT PART OF THE CHINESE CULTURE.
HERE IS A LIST OF USEFUL WECHAT FEATURE & MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR B2B COMPANIES
- WeChat “SEO”: The art of ranking your content on WeChat Search tool.
- WeChat Group Marketing: Massive content share in Group/ Administration of WeChat group to interact with target audience.
- WeChat Post: Use as a newsletter to nurture your followers. Avoid only posting corporate content but prefer content that have value for your reader.
- WeChat H5 Brochure: It may be your intro, case studies, products/services lists and so on. Best way to share information.
- WeChat B2B Kols: collaborate with trusted industry Kols on WeChat.
- Press and quality publications: Boost your trust for B2B in China
To impact influencers, and those people who like to keep updated about industry news is important for a company to appear in the news. Good PR content results in trust and credibility for your company. The Chinese like established and trustworthy companies and appearing in the media will help strengthen this image.
Appearing in the media will often not result in leads but is good for the branding of the company.
COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT FOR B2B IN CHINA
Be active in your community management as this is very important in B2B. Impress your community and professionals will perceive you as a leader in your field and you will naturally generate leads as recommendations are made. Community management is associated with quality content and you must develop this status over time.
Regroup your community around one group – a QQ group, WeChat group, or a professional forum and take your time. The group must feature useful content where others will invite you into their professional networks.
Professionals like to be part of the group when they exchange interesting information, and if they are invited to this group, they will associate the status of leader to the admin and manager of this group.
O2O IN BUSINESS: CONFERENCE & NETWORKING
A popular trend in China is the relationship of online and offline brands.
This concept of B2B is quite simple, people have to meet each other before they give a Quotation/AFQ and have to establish at least some sort of relationship before making a deal. We meet each other online but also need to meet in person.
Conferences are a good idea, invite your online prospect along to a situation where there is a shared interest, it is also a new way to meet them again and let them understand your goals.
CONNECT OFFLINE AND KEEP CONTACT ONLINE: USEFUL FOR B2B IN CHINA
Networking is a good way to gain contacts initially and online is a good way to keep in touch with these people. Networking is not effective in the short term as meeting people for two minutes is not enough time to base a significant business relationship on. Keeping in contact online with these people is a good strategy. Most of these people are social by nature and if they are impressed by your specialization after checking your content, they will recommend you to other potential buyers.
DO YOU WANT TO DEVELOP YOUR BUSINESS IN CHINA?
If you have any questions or are interested to know if we can generate B2B leads from Chinese clients, feel free to contact us.