Christmas and New Year celebrations in China last month were met with growing uncertainty and controversy as the Chinese Government, and local authorities implemented several fundamental changes.
Images of government and university notices circulated on Chinese social media ‘banning Christmas’. Although the original notice which sparked controversy online only mentioned a ban on government officials from celebrating Christmas, local governments in some regions banned Christmas displays and sales of ‘illegal Christmas goods.’
- What this means for brands: Foreign brands should look at how they can adapt their marketing calendars to make the most of Chinese festivals and holidays and have contingency plans in place for Christmas activities to avoid disappointment.
New restrictions were also released limiting the total amount of money Chinese citizens can withdraw while abroad. Each consumer’s overseas withdrawals are now limited to 15,000 USD (per year), a further limit was introduced on the foreign currency consumers can change in China, (50,000 USD per individual per year), regulations and procedures for declaration when exchanging foreign currency have also been increased.
- What this means for brands: As consumers need to put more thought into how they spend abroad, it is important for retail destinations and brands to have strong presence and reputation online, targeting customers during periods where they plan their travel and highlighting the superior customer experiences and product ranges they offer. Global competition is going to get a lot tougher!
China renews travel ban to South Korea leaving many Chinese outbound consumers looking for alternative travel and shopping destinations, although the unofficial ban which was put in place in 2017 seemed to have been lifted earlier in December. Reports from travel agencies and consumers in China state that the group travel ban has been put back in place with many groups failing to be given visas.
- What this means for brands: Increased availability and affordability of long-distance travel could see another record-breaking year for UK in-bound consumers, brands should prepare themselves for increased opportunities and increased competition.
Chinese Netizens were left with little to do over the Christmas holidays as several apps and influential channels, including Toutiao- a content aggregator app which boasts over 30 million users, were temporarily shut down by censors and told to clean up their content. The CCP has warned that there will be tighter restrictions on online content going forward.
What does this mean for brands?
The Chinese governments’ clamp down on online content is disrupting media platforms and accounts across China. Calling for brands to step up auditing of both their social content and their chosen partner platforms as well as campaign KOLs.
Emerging Communications’ Top Tips for Success and what we have learnt that will help drive inbound sales over the Chinese New Year period.
- Plan ahead, then plan again. In 2017 Emerging Communications has helped countless clients to navigate numerous obstacles on Chinese social media platforms (such as the blocking of live streaming and the change in Weibo’s timeline algorithm). As the above article highlights, for success in marketing to China this year, brands need to keep themselves abreast of new policies and restrictions to avoid being caught out.
- Reach your audience early! Over 50% of Chinese travel consumers plan their trips between 2-6 months before they travel.
- Make sure Chinese consumers know why they should include you in their itinerary! Building a strong brand presence as well as brand credibility through positive WOM online will go a long way to driving foot traffic.
- As inbound Chinese consumers continue to break records in the UK, more brands are turning their attention to the inbound Chinese market. It is no longer enough to be ‘in the game,’ brands need to focus on creating better content, being more responsive online and diversifying their marketing channels.
Interested in reaching Chinese inbound consumers? Want to know how to get the most out of your brand’s Chinese digital channels? Talk to a member of our team today!
Contact us on 020 3011 0088 or leave us a message here.
By Marie Tulloch, Account Director.