In The News

Mon 6 Mar 2017

How to Export to China Using a Simple Messaging App

International Business
we chat - the new way to connect - logo

In my last blog post, I promised I would let you in on how you can actually do big business with China, through a simple chat application.  This post is specific to exporters who want to break into the Chinese market. 

Just to give you an idea of how big this market has become, China celebrates Singles’ Day on 11 November every year.  Singles‘ Day is unique to China, and was started by a group of young college students who were said to have intended it, as a protest against Valentine’s Day.  All the 1’s on this date was perfectly symbolic of being single. 

In 2009, Alibaba and its charismatic founder Jack Ma, turned this into one big shopping day.  This year, its one day sales figures have exceeded those of both the US’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined!  Singles’ Day in 2016 pulled in more than US$17 billion, up from $14 billion in 2015.*

Do you want a piece of that action?  The name of the messaging app I am referring to, is WeChat.  It is China’s version of Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and even Tinder…combined!  Similar to what some of these apps are doing, anyone can set up a shop online.  Its spread is massive with hundreds of millions of Chinese having this app on their phones.

This way of promoting a company or a products is what I call, a Wechat Roadshow. 

Here are the steps you can take to start one:

Similar to Facebook or the other social media apps, you will start with a wall where you can post information about the product or service that you provide. 

Your next step is to gather as many people into one online group.  Similar to groups you might have seen on other social media apps.  Each group on WeChat can accommodate up to 500 users. 

The third step is to stage a prelaunch to test your product in the market.  This way you can find out if Chinese consumers are ready to accept your product.

The last stage is the actual roadshow itself.  It is here that you get to introduce your product, company and brand to the online group that you have successfully gathered from WeChat.

There are a several benefits to launching your company through WeChat. 

For one, it is obviously of lower cost than to have to jump on a plane with your colleagues and set up a booth in a full blown trade show. 

Second, it makes it possible for you to keep your clientele abreast with new products, services and news regarding your business.  On social media, you can use text, pictures, videos and many other forms of communication to promote your product without having to step on Chinese soil.

There’s really very little to say against setting up a store in WeChat.  More and more stuff is being marketed in the cyber zone.  Don’t get left behind.


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