China has become the fastest-growing market for internet commerce in the world and by the end of 2020, it might reach over $1 trillion.
This is why the Chinese market is so attractive for everyone who wants to expand their business abroad.
Undoubtedly, China offers plenty of business opportunities, however, expanding your business poses considerable challenges.
Here are our five tips to localize your website for the Chinese market.
1. Consider regional language differences
At the end of the 19th century, the People’s Republic of China attempted to increase the literacy rate by simplifying the written Chinese language.
Thus, nowadays two main written forms of Modern Chinese could be identified —Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
Generally, in Mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia uses Simplified Chinese as the standard writing form while Hong Kong and Taiwan primarily use Traditional Chinese.
2. Page speed
Chinese customers greatly appreciate fast page speeds. Here are some methods that could help you boost your website’s performance:
- Hosting your website within China – Operating your website from abroad would mean your website must go through the Great Firewall which in turn will diminish your site’s performance and might even ban some of your resources. Additionally, most Chinese users tend to use websites that are local and have the government’s approval.
- Removing any unnecessary elements such as Google fonts and tags, CDN, Amazon S3, and any other resources that are blocked by the Great Firewall would improve drastically your webpage load speed.
- The great number of Chinese characters (around 20, 000) means that using different fonts would slow down your pages. A possible solution would be to use images for static elements or use specific fonts that perform well with the Chinese characters.
3. Mobile website localization
Mobile phones are the primary way to access the internet in China.
Clearly, it’s best to take the first-mobile approach and make sure to optimize your website for the Chinese mobile users before launching a desktop version.
Interestingly, some Chinese websites don’t even have a desktop version – this shows how important is mobile optimization in China.
To ensure everything is running smoothly, it is imperative that you check if every element on your webpage is suitable for mobile use.
4. Optimize SEO for Chinese search engines
While Google is the dominant search engine in Europe and the US, in China it is not the case.
More than 70% of the online searches in China happen on Baidu which makes it the primary search engine. So you should focus your SEO efforts on Baidu, not Google.
It is important to note that there are certain differences in Baidu’s algorithms in comparison to Google. However, the most important one is that Baidu indexes only Chinese characters.
This means your website should have a Chinese version in China to get discovered.
Also, to be on the save side, create a standard .cn domain that is hosted in China since Baidu doesn’t hold with sub- or multiple domains.
5. Set up your social media accounts
Your social network accounts should be visible on the Chinese version of your website.
Social platforms are a great way to build your brand and easily reach Chinese consumers.
However, you should be aware that the most popular social media in China is WeChat – its features range from email to instant messaging.
In a nutshell, this platform combines Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn in one.
Moreover, the social media giant WeChat offers a number of services you could take advantage of to promote your products – you can open a WeChat Official Account and develop a WeChat app or WeChat mini program.
Bonus tip: The Chinese love QR codes and use them for everything – to scan URLs, transfer money, pay their monthly utility bills, and even to log in to their accounts.
This is why QR codes have become a powerful marketing tool for the Chinese market.
For instance, it is a common practice to include a QR code in your product’s advertising camping.
Once the code gets scanned it could redirect the customer to an official social media account or the product’s page.
Website localization for the Chinese market is not easy and there are many aspects to consider.
Your efforts have to go far beyond just a translated website and a .cn domain.
All this may seem overwhelming, but it can be well worth the investment.
We can help you create a China localization strategy – get in touch with us.