8 New Digital Marketing Trends in China

8 New Digital Marketing Trends in China [2024 Insights]

Last Updated on March 12, 2024

With the Chinese market constantly evolving, new digital marketing trends are naturally coming to the surface. The rapid development of the country’s virtual landscape makes it hard for some marketers to keep up. It’s often why you’ll see articles with old or incomplete information.

From emerging strategies to changing consumer behavior, we’ll touch base on the new trends in China and discuss the best way to integrate them into your digital marketing campaign.


Latest Outlook of China’s Digital Marketing Landscape

In an attempt to determine the upcoming digital marketing trends in China, a recent survey was conducted for 257 advertisers from 20 different industries. In this report, key findings suggest that marketers still consider Chinese social media platforms and short videos as the focal points of their marketing strategies.

Meanwhile, 71% of the companies surveyed showed a willingness to collaborate with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for this year’s marketing strategy. It’s a 5% increase compared to the past year.

According to the report, approximately 44% of businesses plan to use live-streaming to appeal to local customers. On the other hand, 30% of them consider search engine optimization and niche marketing as the focus of their strategy.

As Chinese internet users continue to surf the web through mobile devices, today’s digital marketing trends are still expected to be mobile-centric.


Digital Marketing Landscape in China 2024


7 New Trends For Your Digital Marketing Strategies in China

1.   “Quiet Selling” Live-streaming Trend

Integrated live-streaming features in social media and e-commerce platforms have been a lifesaver for many Western brands entering China for many years now. These interactive campaigns have proven time and time again that they can generate traffic and potential sales.

However, as the new wave of consumers enters the market, it has become more apparent that young people are not fans of aggressive video content marketing strategies.


Quiet live streaming China


These consumers seek engaging content formed by excellent storytelling techniques and unique customer experiences. Beyond the traditional live selling method, the new trend aims to create a deeper connection between brands and their target audience.

With less intrusive real-time content, consumers are more likely to view your marketing campaign as more authentic and credible.


2.   Social Media Platforms as Search Engines

The integration of search engine features in some social media channels allows consumers to discover new products without leaving an app. With the right keyword, your target audience can find your content more quickly, as well as other posts written about the brand by other users.

With this new customer journey, it has become inevitable for brands to launch official accounts and e-commerce stores on different platforms.

For example, did you know that 50% of WeChat users search different keywords and terms on the platform every day? In 2022, the super app even recorded a 54% increase in search volume.


SEO strategy with WeChat search


WeChat Articles are also indexed by Baidu, often appearing on top of search engine results pages when properly optimized. This cross-platform visibility amplifies a brand’s reach and shows the importance of crafting content that resonates with social media audiences and search engine algorithms.

Meanwhile, Little Red Book has an average search volume of 300 million daily. Before buying a product in this social commerce app, 90% of its user base prefers to conduct research about the brand they’ll be patronizing.


Xiaohongshu search function


Looking at this consistent consumer behavior, it’s clear that these built-in functions hold a significant influence on an average online shopper’s purchasing decision.


3.   Influencer Marketing with Micro KOLs & KOCs

In recent years, working with KOLs meant taking advantage of their massive fan base. However, as local shoppers become more mindful of their digital purchases, micro-influencers and Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) quickly turned into credible sources of authentic brand experiences.

While these online personalities don’t have massive followers, their influence is concentrated in a specific target demographic. With relevant audiences ready to engage with the content, your marketing strategies are more likely to deliver better results.


KOL collaboration for Estee Lauder on Xiaohongshu

KOL collaboration for Estee Lauder on Xiaohongshu


KOCs appear more authentic to regular social media users because they are literal fellow consumers. Unlike big-time influencers, their content is often not focused on brands but on their daily experiences.

Their personal relationship with their followers opens a unique opportunity for brands to integrate their products naturally into the KOC’s content. Collaborations with these influencers are often long-term, given the lower budget range they require.


4.   Personalized Marketing Campaigns

Younger generations, specifically Gen Z and Millennials, seek products and services specifically made for them. It’s one of the reasons why they’re willing to spend more money on premium products if it means they’re getting a high-quality item and shopping experience.

Increasingly, brands are offering consumers significant roles, transforming them into co-creators or ambassadors. This shift acknowledges a critical insight: consumer loyalty is not a given, especially among younger demographics.

They are quick to explore alternatives, including international brands, if they find the branding more appealing or the user experience more engaging.


Longchamp WeChat mini program

LongChamp’s WeChat Mini-Program


Longchamp’s WeChat mini-program, which allows shoppers to customize bags, is a prime example of leveraging personalization. Today’s young consumers desire uniqueness in their purchases, seeking to stand out rather than blend in.

By offering customizable products or immersive experiences, brands can captivate this audience, generating excitement and potentially attracting influential KOLs to amplify their message.


5.   Augmented and Virtual Reality Technology

Technology has always been China’s secret weapon for success, especially when it comes to the development of the country’s digital landscape. The best example is the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

These technologies are revolutionizing customer engagement in China, offering immersive and interactive experiences that merge the digital with the physical. This approach captivates local consumers, providing them with novel and engaging ways to explore products and services.


Integration of Advanced Technologies in Live commerce China

Image by Freepik


China’s AR and VR market is rapidly growing, with revenues expected to hit $7.8 billion by 2024. This growth is projected to continue with an annual growth of 10.29% from 2024 to 2028, reaching a market volume of $11.6 billion by the end of this period.

The surge of these trends spans various industries, including retail, entertainment, education, and healthcare, highlighting their widespread appeal and utility.

In retail, for example, VR and AR allow consumers to experience products virtually, bridging the gap between online and in-person shopping.


6.   Consumption Based on Values and Ethics

With the local market choosing to be mindful of their purchases, it’s only natural for marketing trends in China to be affected. It has led to a shift in preference towards smaller, upscale brands that distinguish themselves with unique, sustainable, and ethical practices.


Sustainability and Ethical Consumerism live commerce China

Photo by ready made from Pexels


It’s the effect of the ‘value mindset’ among Chinese consumers, who are now placing greater emphasis on quality over quantity.

These shoppers are looking for more than competitive pricing. They now seek alignment with the brand’s sustainable and eco-friendly efforts, from how their products are sourced to its associations with other businesses.


7.   More Focus on User-generated Content

While it’s true that online advertising campaigns can help you reach your target audience, high-value traffic typically comes from user-generated content. The rise of Little Red Book is a testament to UGC’s growing importance in the Chinese market.

As seen in the graph below, one of the top reasons local consumers interact with user-generated content is to identify the current product trends. These posts clearly impact purchasing decisions, as 59% of the respondents agree that encountering UGC instills confidence in the products they’re buying.


Reasons to interact with user-generated content in China – 2023

Reasons to interact with user-generated content in China – 2023 (Source: Statista)


Not all user-generated content carries the same impact on your content marketing strategies. According to the latest trends, video posts remain the most popular type of UGC used by brands.

A close second is product reviews or testimonials, as often seen on different e-commerce channels. User-generated content also comes in the form of images, social media posts, live streams, and product ratings.


Most popular user-generated content types in China – 2023

Most popular user-generated content types in China – 2023 (Source: Statista)


8.   The Advantage of Private Traffic

Unlike the conventional public traffic garnered through major platforms like Taobao and JD.com, private traffic is cultivated within a brand’s own digital ecosystem. It allows brands to create exclusive communities to engage with consumers through various digital marketing activities.

By nurturing a dedicated private traffic pool, brands can improve their visibility and reputation. Customers within these pools are likelier to share their positive experiences with others, effectively amplifying word-of-mouth marketing.


WeChat interface


WeChat is one of the most popular apps facilitating private traffic for brands. Its features offer an interconnected infrastructure for marketers to engage with their audience, manage customer relationships, and drive sales. For instance:

  • WeChat Work serves as a platform for personalized customer service and management.
  • WeChat Groups and Moments allow for interactive communication and content sharing, enhancing user engagement and loyalty.
  • WeChat Official Accounts and WeChat Mini Programs provide a seamless integration of content marketing and e-commerce functionalities.
  • WeChat Channel offers a new avenue for video content sharing, tapping into the growing trend of short video consumption.


How To Enter The Chinese Market Through Digital Marketing

The process might seem smoother for well-established brands due to the favorable perception of reputable foreign brands among local shoppers. However, smaller or medium-sized businesses should note that their existing reputation may not carry the same weight in China.

The Chinese consumer market has become increasingly discerning, having experienced disappointments with foreign brands that either misrepresented their origins or delivered subpar products.

The era where imported products are sold simply based on perceived international quality is fading. Because of this, every brand, regardless of its size or reputation abroad, starts with a clean slate in China.

Understanding the unique facets of the country’s virtual landscape is your first step. It involves recognizing the changing needs of local consumers and tailoring your strategies based on the latest marketing trends in China.


China social media and social commerce landscape


Should You Launch a Website for Chinese Consumers?

Having a website tailored for the Chinese market is crucial. It means setting up a site hosted on local servers, securing a .cn domain, and, if you plan to sell online, obtaining an ICP license. These steps ensure visibility on Baidu, which dominates over 70% of the search engine market in the country.

Additionally, a local website is often a prerequisite for launching advertising accounts on various social media platforms in China.


website tailored for the Chinese market


Which Digital Marketing Platforms Should You Use in China In 2024?

When it comes to marketing in China, brands have a complete selection of platforms to choose from. These channels carry different user base demographics and features that may appeal to various brands depending on the industry they belong to. Here are some of your options:


●     Social Media Platforms

  1. Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu)

This platform combines social media and e-commerce. It initially focuses on lifestyle content but has since expanded its features to accommodate other categories.

It’s particularly effective for marketers looking to build a community around their brands, as it offers a space for user-generated content and reviews.


Xiaohongshu social media China


  1. WeChat

Integral to any digital strategy in China, WeChat functions beyond a messaging app; it’s a comprehensive ecosystem supporting content marketing, customer service, and transactions. Establishing an official account on this platform is crucial for brand engagement.


WeChat social media China


  1. Douyin

As the premier platform for short-form video content, Douyin caters to a youthful audience and is critical for viral marketing campaigns. Its engaging format and sophisticated algorithm provide unparalleled visibility in China’s digital ecosystem.


Douyin social media China


●     E-commerce Platforms

  1. Tmall & JD.com

These are the top online retail platforms essential for brands selling physical products. Tmall excels in consumer goods, while JD.com is preferred for electronics and quality items. Success here demands a comprehensive approach to storefront management and digital marketing.



  1. Pinduoduo

With a unique group-purchase mechanism, Pinduoduo reaches cost-conscious customers. This platform offers an entry point to the country’s vast, yet less urbanized, markets.


Pinduoduo e-commerce platform China


Quick Q&A

Why is digital marketing important in China?

Digital marketing is important in China because of the country’s vast and highly digitized consumer base, which relies heavily on online platforms for shopping, socializing, and entertainment.


Your Trusted Digital Marketing Partner in the Chinese Market!

In a market as fast-paced as China, the preferences and needs of your target audiences are also subject to frequent changes. Because of this, it’s safe to say that not all brands require the same digital marketing strategies.

At Sekkei Digital Group, we can help you navigate the unpredictability of the Chinese market. With our extensive industry experience, we offer the avenue to unlock your brand’s potential and become a leading entity in your target market.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


From keeping up with the latest digital trends to integrating the local culture into your promotional campaigns, our team is ready to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today, and let’s start working together!


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