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A Chinese consumer’s purchase journey is like no other.  It begins online for most, with 85% using search engines, brand websites, or social media as their first step for researching a new product or purchase, according to a PWC survey.

Whilst online research is not unique to Chinese consumers, the way they do it is. For a start, they are less trusting of products and services, and investigate more, across a wider range of online channels before making a decision.

Globally, 56% use a search engine as their first port of call for doing research, whereas just 33% do in China. When Chinese search, it isn’t just on Baidu as it is on Google elsewhere.  Consumers are more likely to research products on ecommerce platforms like Taobao, particularly when they are getting closer to making a purchase decision.

Food and beverage is one illustration of Chinese search habits.  For example, consumers do twice as many searches for wine on Taobao/Tmall than on Baidu.  And wine is a product most consumers still require further education about.  Products such as packaged snack food – which consumers are more familiar with – often account for ten times more searches on Taobao/Tmall than on Baidu.

32% of Chinese will go directly to a brand’s website – much higher than the 19% globally, and almost as many as those who will use a search engine initially.

When we talk about online research in China, it’s a good idea to be thinking about mobiles.  Wherever Chinese are thinking about making a purchase – in a store or online – they will always have their smartphones with them, so it is important to factor this in to customer touchpoints.

PWC’s findings are polarising: 85% are online for their first step of research, whereas just 11% of retail sales happen over the Internet.  This signals a disconnect in the customer journey and represents an opportunity to further integrate online and offline channels to better tailor to consumer preferences.  China Skinny can assist with that. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.

Back in 2011, most of the cool kids in China were sporting foreign-branded Apple, Samsung and Nokia phones, with the three brands accounting for 57% of all smartphone sales. By June this year, eight of the top-10 selling brands were Chinese. Local darling Xiaomi, which released its first smartphone just three years ago, now outsells every other brand – foreign and local – in the Mainland.

Similarly, 2012 research from the World Luxury Foundation found that 86% of Chinese consumers wouldn’t go near luxury goods labelled ‘Made in China,’ due to the country’s reputation for cheap goods. Research just released by Added Value, discovered that only 9% of luxury consumers now say they’d exclusively buy Western brands.

The rapid swing represents both Chinese brands upping their game and a growing acceptance from Chinese consumers for local goods.

Even outside of the Mainland, Chinese culture and preferences are becoming more a part of consumers’ lives; from the bubble tea sold at Western shopping malls, to big screen smartphones, to Chinese Zodiac symbols on products, to Chinese actors and backdrops increasingly starring in Hollywood blockbusters. This is being driven by brands hoping to appeal in China’s booming domestic market, cashed up tourists and migrants, but also a growing curiosity from Western consumers.

Yet most of the China-fication seen in the West is being steered by Western companies. Research last year found that just 6% of American consumers could name one Chinese brand.  Things won’t stay that way for long.

Chinese brands are already making a big impact abroad. Xiaomi is rolling out its phones in Latin America, Russia, Turkey and much of South and Southeast Asia, as has just been named as the 35th most innovative brand in the world and the top up-and-comer by BCG. WeChat is popular in many Asian markets, and eCommerce companies in India, Africa and much of the developing world are looking to follow Alibaba’s business model – not eBay or Amazons’. Lenovo is the world’s largest PC vendor by units sold and Huawei is the biggest communications equipment maker in the world.  Some of the world’s leading fashion houses now have production in China. Chinese cars, although not yet popular at home, are being recognised internationally for design, with manufacturers such as Hawtai selling more than three quarters of their cars outside of China.

Increasing confidence and growing revenue in the Mainland will undoubtedly lead to more Chinese companies expanding overseas, both organically and through acquisition.  We will see also growing numbers moving from developing countries to take on Western brands in their own markets. So whether we’re targeting Chinese consumers or consumers anywhere, China should be on the radar.

One of the categories where imported brands will reign supreme for some time is premium food and beverage, due to a lack of trust in the local fare.  For our readers in Shanghai, China Skinny will be presenting about Feeding the Masses: Trends in Food and Beverage Consumption in China next Thursday, November 13 – it will be worth the early morning.  Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.

Although eCommerce is going gangbusters in China – Tmall sales grew 90% last year – one of its key challenges is logistics. According to GLP, it costs twice as much to deliver a parcel in China as in the USA, even with China’s lower wages.

Delivering packages to consumers in China’s biggest cities may be a speedy and cost effective service, but that’s not the case for thousands of other municipalities, including many of China’s 114 cities with more people than New Zealand

Whilst they earn less, consumers in China’s smaller cities actually spend more online than those in China’s larger cities – a cheaper cost of living coupled with fewer high street stores drives small-town folk to Taobao.  Last year, the average consumer in Tier 4 cities spent a third more shopping online than in those in Tier 1 & 2 cities. 

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma wanted to do something about China’s logistics issue.  In October last year, he announced that he was spearheading a ¥100 billion ($16 billion) 8-year project that would enable online purchases to be delivered anywhere in China within 24-hours.

Well, late last month it looks like Mr. Ma may have achieved his dream 7 years ahead of schedule, inking a logistics partnership with China Post to deliver parcels anywhere in China within 24-hours, and potentially opening up the world through China Post’s global networks.

Whilst many postal businesses around the world are struggling, the deal with China Post will be good for both parties.  Last year, 5 billion parcels – almost four for every woman, man and child in China – were delivered from Taobao and Tmall’s stores.  Prior to the China Post deal, 950,000 staff were employed by Alibaba’s 14 logistics partners alone. 

With the China Post agreement, and general investment in China’s warehouses and distribution centres soaring 38.8% last year, it’s likely that eCommerce in China will continue to grow from strength to strength – something to consider.  We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny.

Consumers,: Chinese Consumers

Something Is Making Chinese Consumers Want to Save More and Spend LessJust 18% of Chinese consumers were up for spending more in the second quarter of this year, versus the first 3-months. Probably not helped by slowing property sales, which account for 67% of the average middle class family’s wealth.

What Are Chinese Consumers Thinking?High level overview into the changing Chinese consumer: luxury goods still equals prestige for many consumers; rising health concerns grip consumers’ minds; and the importance of smartphones and social media.

Online: Internet, Mobile & eCommerce

Alibaba, China Post to Cooperate on LogisticsAlibaba and China Post have signed a deal to deliver online purchases anywhere in China within 24 hours. The deal will allow the companies to share warehouses, processing centres and delivery resources.

Alibaba Issues New IPO Filing, Reveals People Spent $272 Billion on Taobao and Tmall in Past YearTmall sales were up 90.1% in the past year, while Taobao grew 32.3%, although it still accounts for 70% of Alibaba’s retail sales.

Baidu: Search Share Loss; Mobile, Video StrengthenBaidu’s share of China’s search market in Q2 dropped to 59.8% of page views from 60.6% in the previous quarter. Qihoo’s climb continued to 25.6%, up from 24.8%

Premium Food & Beverage

Starbucks to Replicate US Strategy Successes in ChinaStarbucks is planning to open stores in close proximity to one another in Chinese cities and opening in suburbs as it does in the US. It is also planning more cafes in 2nd tier cities. Last year the chain opened 206 new outlets and 111 franchise stores in China, contributing to 27.1% growth in revenue for Asia Pacific region at $917 million. Sales should top a billion in the region this year.

Wellness, Health

Women’s Health App Meet You Nets Another US$30M in FundingThe Chinese app that originated as a menstruation tracker that since evolved into a social network for “all-things-ladylike” has netted more cash to grow its 3.5 million active user base.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Chinese Outbound Trips May Exceed 115 Million This YearsFollowing an 18.8% increase in international Chinese tourists for the first five months of this year, more than 115 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad this year, up from 98.2 million in 2013.

More Chinese Opting for Summer Sea CruisesCruise bookings on Ctrip have doubled in June compared to a year ago, on the back of travellers shying away from SE Asian destinations. China’s cruise ship visitors are forecast to surpass 4.5 million by 2020, making it the largest cruise market in the Asia Pacific region.

Skyscanner Aims to Challenge Baidu in the Chinese Travel MarketEdinburgh-based Skyscanner is planning to take on the big boys through its acquisition of local travel price comparison startup Youbibi. With Chinese travellers expected to spend $75 billion online in 2017, there’s a lot to play for.

Recreation and Entertainment

How Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent Will Dominate China’s Movie Industry in 3 YearsChina’s domestic film market and spinoffs are estimated to be as much as ¥100 billion ($16 billion) a year, and the big Internet companies are all over it. Crowdfunding, movie ticket sales, media group acquisitions, networking, movie funding are all examples of them closing in. Chinese movies accounted for seven of the top ten grossing movies last year.

Banking, Property

For a Century, the Mansion Sat Above Sydney Harbour. Then China’s Nouveau Riche Arrived.Credit Suisse estimates that 18% of all new houses and apartments in Sydney, and 14% in Melbourne, are bought by Chinese citizens. That portion is expected to rise.

Cars and Auto

Chinese Consumers Switch Gears from Cash to Credit for Car Buys85% of Chinese car buyers still pay with cash, but the country’s auto financing industry is forecast to double to ¥525 billion ($84.55 billion) by 2025, driven by the younger demographics. Buyers currently require a 20% deposit on cars in China.

Premium and Luxury

Chinese Luxury Consumers Named Their Favourite BrandsGiorgio Armani, Chanel, Rolls Royce, Singapore Airlines and Australia come out tops for China’s uber rich.

Kooky, Weird & Wonderful

Beijing From Above, Aka The Story Of How I Was Detained By The Police Because Of My DJI QuadcopterLucky to get out with his footage – some great shots of China’s capital filmed from above using a drone.

That’s The Skinny for the week!  We’d love to discuss how we could help with your marketing, online initiatives or research to take advantage of China’s opportunities.  Just email us at info@chinaskinny.com or call us at +86 21 3221 0273 so we can learn more about your objectives and let you know how we can help.

If you’ve missed earlier news or need to learn more, there’s a library of information about Chinese consumers in prior China Skinny Weekly’s right here. You can have this delivered to your inbox each week by subscribing for email updates, or if social media is more your thing, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS feed.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, please let us know.

35 years ago when China began its economic reforms, it was a big deal to own a wrist watch and a single speed bicycle. Today, the allure of the $4.4 trillion that will be spent by urban Chinese by 2022 has created the fiercest consumer market on the planet.

Hundreds of new products and promotions are launched every day in China. Consumers have gotten used to, and almost expect, a constant stream of new offerings.  In addition, Chinese consumers themselves are also evolving.

As recently as 2012, KFC was the foreign business success story that everyone was talking about in China – it had localised its menu while retaining its Westerness – and Chinese consumers were lapping it up. However, KFC fell out of favour last year.  The fast food giant is hoping to win back Chinese consumers by performing its biggest menu makeover in 27-years.  KFC is also promising changes to the menu at least every 12 months to ensure it keeps up with the China market.

Mondelez of Oreo Cookies fame, was another Western success story in China.  Yet it has had to launch a healthy line to counter recent disappointing growth for Oreo as consumer tastes shift. Another example in changing preferences is premium milk, which accounted for 26% of the market in 2011, but grew to 38% in 2013. Increasingly, luxury consumers now value craftmanship and innate quality over the brash logos that were all the rage up to 2012. There’s no shortage of examples of the constant swings in Chinese consumer trends.

In most instances, Western businesses coming to China have learnt that they can’t simply replicate their strategy from other countries, and many do research and localisation before entering the market. Unfortunately much of that research may only be relevant for a year or two, and needs to be regularly refreshed.

It’s not easy keeping with China’s dynamic consumers, China Skinny knows firsthand as we work with many clients to do so. However, the reality of doing business is China is that you have to constantly innovate to keep up with the trends, and for those who do, there’s no question that it will be rewarding. We hope you find a few articles below that will help you do just that.  Enjoy!

Consumers, Chinese Consumers

Winning in China’s Competitive Marketplace: China Skinny’s Mark Tanner talks on Australia’s ABC News about standing out in China’s crowded Internet space, what consumers are looking for online and having integrated online and offline campaigns.

How Young, Upwardly Mobile Consumers are Shaping China: Guangzhou is the only city in Mainland China where retail consumption has contributed more to GDP than fixed-asset investment for the past 12 years. More cities will follow though, with consumption expected to account for 60% of GDP by 2020. Spending by China’s urban households is expected to increase from ¥‎10 trillion ($1.6 trillion) in 2012 to nearly ¥‎27 trillion ($4.4 trillion) in 2022 according to McKinsey.

Growing Upper Middle Class Creates Attractive Market: As recently as 2000 just 4% of China’s households were middle class. By 2012, it was 68%. China’s expanding urban upper middle class are more likely to favour imported products, with 34% likely to buy foreign-branded food and beverage, versus 24% of all city dwellers.

A Map of China, By Stereotype: Baidu provides insights into how Chinese view one another, from Guangdong folk eating monkeys, to Sichuanese having good skin. Similarly, there are also some common searches about foreign countries.

Consumer Complaints Surge in China: Consumer complaints lodged to the Government-sponsored hotline and online platform broke one million in 2013, up 13.9% from 2012.

Premium Food & Beverage

McDonald’s, Yum Focus on China: Will Consumers Eat Up the Attention?: KFC is making its biggest menu makeover over its 27 years in China with two new chicken sandwiches, three new rice dishes and a number new drinks and desserts. The company plans to update its menu at least once a year to keep up with constantly changing Chinese consumer tastes.

Chinese Shoppers Desire Premium Fast-Moving Consumer Goods: Fast moving consumer goods volume is growing at a slower rate than value in China. For example, just 26% of milk products were categorised as ‘Premium’ in 2011, versus 38% in 2013. Likewise, ‘Premium’ biscuits grew from 15% to 23% – all great news for foreign producers.

U.S. Cheddar Cheese Costs Most Ever as Demand From China Doubles: Chinese consumers’ demand for food is pushing up prices globally. World food prices posted their biggest gain in 19 months in February, with dairy costs reaching a record level.

Online: Internet, eCommerce, Mobile & Social Media

Weibo And WeChat, Is There Room For Both?: Weibo is a public and aggregated social media platform that allows for the timely distribution of information, whereas WeChat is still primarily known as a messaging platform for more personal and intimate interactions.

Lenovo, Xioami, Huawei in Price Wars: China’s social media was abuzz with three of China’s gadget giants selling highly-specced mobile devices for under ¥1,000 ($160).

Baidu’s Autofill Reveals the Soul of the Average Chinese Web Surfer: Physical appearance is a common source of anxiety for Baidu searchers in China. Men search for ways to “grow taller” and “cure baldness,” while women ask how to “make my skin white,” “make my legs thinner,” and “make my face thinner.”

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Top 10 Overseas Travel Destinations for Chinese Richest: Australia is the most preferred destination for China’s wealthy, with France taking the number two spot according to Hurun. Wealthy Chinese took an average of 7.5 days on vacation a year, excluding national holidays.

Air NZ Romance Campaign ‘Huge Success in China’: Air New Zealand launched “Love is a Journey,” in the latest phase of promoting NZ as the ideal destination for a romantic getaway. Its “Romance Class” safety video received 889,000 views last year in China.

Britain Seeks More Chinese Tourists: Britain aims to welcome 650,000 Chinese tourists a year by 2020, adding $1.8 billion to the economy a year. Chinese tourist numbers broke 200,000 for the first time in 2013.

High End Fashion

Great Wad of China: Adidas Hits Ground Running, Grows Footprint: China will have ten cities of the scale of New York today by 2025. With that kind of opportunity, comes a lot of competition, many of whom are just copying and producing like-minded products. To differentiate, it’s about brand experience.

Fast-Fashion Brands Face Backlash for Poor Quality: As brands such as Zara and H&M strive to keep costs down in China’s hyper-competitive fast fashion market, quality issues are a common concern for both China’s quality control watchdogs and consumers on social media. H&M’s revenue was up 23% for 2013 in China.

Premium and Luxury

Wealthy Chinese Value Luxury Craft Over Bling: Almost two thirds of Chinese luxury consumers consider ‘craftsmanship’ more important than ‘expensive’ and ‘status’ as luxury consumption for enjoyment becomes increasingly important. The wealthier a consumer gets, the more they appreciate innate quality and value according to Mintel research.

China’s Swiss Watch Searches Surge 59% Despite Sales Slump: While sales of Swiss watches dropped 12.5% in 2013, online searches for them grew 59.4%, with mobile searches growing 120%.

That’s The Skinny for the week!  We’d love to discuss how we could help with your marketing, online initiatives or research to take advantage of China’s opportunities.  Just email us at info@chinaskinny.com or call us at +86 21 3221 0273 so we can learn more about your objectives and let you know how we can help.

If you’ve missed earlier news or need to learn more, there’s a library of information about Chinese consumers in prior China Skinny Weekly’s right here. You can have this delivered to your inbox each week by subscribing for email updates, or if social media is more your thing, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS feed.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, please let us know.

Chinese consumers go online more than any other information channel to find out about products and services.  Ipsos research in 2012 found that 38% regularly increase their brand awareness and 48% increase their purchase intent through a company website; less than 32% do the same through state-run TV, newspapers and radio. There has been numerous research backing this up including Accenture’s April 2013 survey confirming the Internet as the channel most consumers turn to when looking for information about a brand or company. With that in mind, it is remarkable how many businesses targeting Chinese consumers still have poor websites.

Creating and maintaining a China-optimised website is essential, but it won’t guarantee you’ll be inundated with Chinese consumers visiting your site. Search engines, integrated social media, eCommerce if you’re selling online, and supporting offline marketing initiatives are all important pieces of the puzzle. The ever-moving target of search engines has shifted a little this month with market leader Baidu’s share continuing its slide, as well as Google’s share in China. As Baidu still accounts for two thirds of unique visitors to search engines, it should be a key part of search engine strategies. And just because Google has dropped to around 2% of search engine traffic, it can still be an important search engine to focus on for certain categories. Qihoo is unquestionably the rising search star. Its share continues to grow to 16.6% of unique visits, and its strengths in mobile will see it do well in this much-used channel. Sogou is also one to watch. There are other online search channels often overlooked that account for more traffic than all the search engines combined for some product segments, but we’ll keep to search engines today.

For those selling from your websites or social media, you may be interested that Baidu and Sina now have licenses to offer online payments within China – in the hope of challenging Alipay’s 46.3% market share and 800 million users. Tencent’s Tenpay is likely to build on its 20.3% market share through the online and offline payments it is trialling with WeChat.

Successful marketing campaigns in China are unlikely to be built on any one channel alone, and below you’ll find the usual news and views across those channels. But before that, we’d like to say a big thanks to our readers who’ve taken the time to give feedback about The Weekly China Skinny. Your suggestions have been taken on board and now if we link to pages that won’t work inside the Great Firewall, we’ll label them with [outside China].  Articles requiring a paid subscription will be noted with [subscription].  If you have any other feedback, please drop us a line.  We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny.

Chinese consumers Chinese Consumers

Infographic: Are China’s ‘Losers’ Really Winning?: Is it becoming cool to be poor, ugly and antisocial in China?

Asia-Pacific Most Label-Conscious In The World: 61% of Chinese consumers say they’d pay more for designer products (44% globally). 74% expect to spend more on designer goods this year; more than any country. 72% agree adverts will increase their preference for a brand and 68%, the decision to buy it.

Brands and Chinese Worldview: Chinese youth have a much more emotional relationship with Internet, because offline media is so regimented. Digital is providing engagement and participation platforms for brands to build sustained relationships with consumers over time.

Chinese Internet Internet, Mobile & Social Media

Painful Drops for Google and Baidu in China Search Engine Market: Baidu’s share of online search dropped a couple of percentage points in June to 69.4% of page views and 65.7% of unique visits. It was over 80% a year ago. Qihoo, number two, was up with 15.3% and 16.6% respectively, Sogou was also on the rise. Google’s slide continues as it hovers just over the 2% mark.

Qihoo a Winner in China Mobile Wars: Citibank picks Qihoo to become a mobile leader in China, with 275 million users of its mobile security products and its market-leading mobile apps store. Going forward it will do well with mobile search, display ads and as an eCommerce aggregator.

Baidu, Sina Enter Online Pay Market: Baidu and Sina are throwing their hats in the ring to take on the giants Alipay & Tenpay in the third party online payments arena. Alipay accounts for 46.3% of the market with 800m registered users. Tenpay is 20.3% with 200 million.

Tencent Puts Payment App on WeChat: Tencent is bringing online and offline payments to WeChat to compete with Alibaba and win a share of China’s third-party payments which were ¥10 trillion ($1.6t) in 2012. It hopes eCommerce will help counter flattening advertising revenues. No launch date has been announced, but some developers already have the beta.

China’s Next Chapter: The Rise of the Generation-2 Consumer: 5-min vid from McKinsey: The Internet is the shining example of the new China, where local companies have achieved global status with no Govt intervention. It is allowing businesses to reach scale in a controlled manner, with low fixed costs and a low physical footprint. The efficiencies of the eCommerce channel are likely to create interesting world-first ecosystems in China going forward.

Lionel Messi: WeChat Hires World’s Best Footballer as TV Ad Star: WeChat signs legendary footballer Messi to front its ads. Messi is the most popular footballer on Weibo with more than 16m followers, and outside of China he’s even bigger. Tencent hopes he’ll help drive their global expansion ambitions as overseas users hit 70 million.

China’s 400 Little-Known Phone Makers Take on Samsung, Apple: Chinese consumers switch smartphones every six months on average, compared to every two years in developed markets. 296m smartphones priced above $450 are forecast to sell in China this year, up from 235m in 2012. Smartphones less than $200 will surge from 234m in 2012 to 400m units this year, and 685m in 2015.

Baidu Pays $1.9 Billion in Biggest Takeover to Gain Mobile Share: Baidu buys a bigger share of the mobile pie with the $1.9 billion takeover of China’s most popular third party smartphone app store, 91 Wireless.

Chinese food and beverage Food and Beverage

Raft of Food Safety Scandals has Shaken Chinese Consumers: A round up of China’s main food scandals since 2005, including the recent polluted water and fish saga from mines in Southern China, similar to Time magazine’s 10 reasons not to go local in China.

Straws Removed From Sale After Fears of Health Risks: It’s not just some of China’s food and drink that’s bad for your health, but the tools to consume them – straws that could harm the digestive system and liver and lead to early puberty, infertility and even cancer are being investigated [subscription].

Chinese Sport Sport

NBA’s Wade in China to Promote Sneakers, but Supply is Short: Li Ning’s $100 million 10-year sponsorship deal of Dwyane Wade will provide even more value since Miami Heat became NBA champs in June, but the Li Ning Wade shoes are elusive for many consumers in China and abroad. 

Chinese food and beverage Entertainment

China Sites Embrace British Invasion: Chinese are increasingly taking to British TV shows. In the space of a few years, from virtually no following, they now account for 9% of foreign TV discussions online, versus 28% for the Koreans. On sites with a wealthy & well educated youth demographic, it’s as high as 13%. Coronation Street tours, you might want to start offering instant noodles en route.

Mining Titans, Movie Moguls: Macau’s Junket Operators Branch Out: Much of Macau’s $38 billion gaming revenue last year (six bigger than Vegas) came from its VIP junket system, where licensed middlemen acting for casinos attract “big whale” spenders, arranging everything from travel to accommodation to gambling credit. Revenues are already up 15% for the first half of 2013.

Chinese health and beauty Health & Beauty

China Probes 60 Drugmakers in Effort to Curb Drug Prices: First it was dairy, now it’s drugs. 27 companies, local and foreign, are being investigated by the National Development and Reform Commission for costs and 33 for pricing in China [outside China].

Chinese Pollution & Environment Pollution & Environment

Army Chemical Specialist’s Formula for Fast Business In China: It’s big business in China if you can address real consumer needs – 3 million air cleaners sold in the Mainland last year, up 50% on 2011.

Chinese luxury Luxury Goods

Online Chinese Luxury Consumers: 37 million middle class Chinese now buy luxury goods, although the industry is taking a hit. 70% of luxury consumers search for them online at least once a month. 62% travelling abroad purchased luxury goods.

Chinese Consumers Boost Burberry: Male accessories, including fragrance and beauty are proving a boon for Burberry in China and helping compensate lower clothing sales.

Tier 1, 2 & 3 Cities in China, Which Comes First for Brands?: In western China’s Tier 3 cities, 8.4% more consumers have been searching for luxury brands in recent months. 4.8% more did in the eastern Tier 1 cities. Don’t go closing stores in the east just yet though.

That’s The Skinny for the week!  China Skinny would love to help with your marketing, websites and other online initiatives or research to take advantage of China’s opportunities.  Just email us at info@chinaskinny.com or call us at +86 21 3221 0273 so we can learn more about your objectives and let you know how we can help.

If you’ve missed earlier news or need to learn more, there’s a library of information about Chinese consumers in prior China Skinny Weekly’s right here. You can have this delivered to your inbox each week by subscribing for email updates, or if social media is more your thing, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS feed.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, please let us know.

The China Internet Network Information Center published a report last month outlining how Chinese consumers search on Sina Weibo.

Unsurprisingly, hot trending news is the most popular topic, looked up by 70.4% of all Weibo users who search. Thankfully, finding friends is more common than celebrities as many Weibo users now use the network to connect with their nearest and dearest.

The most relevant statistic for businesses is the 27.4% of users searching for brand information, and 19.6% searching for factories and producers of goods. This further cements Chinese consumers’ usage of Weibo to find information and opinions about businesses and products.

What users are searching for on Weibo

55% of Chinese Internet users say they’ve contributed to an online discussion about a foreign company. The ease of posting information about a brand or product on Weibo means Chinese consumers trust a brand 95% more if they have seen it on Weibo. Much more than if they’ve seen it on the state-controlled television, newspaper and radio networks.  This further emphasizes the importance and relevance of Weibo to anyone selling, or hoping to sell to Chinese consumers.

The Weibo Facts